Effects of inhibition of gonadotropin releasing hormone secretion on the response to novel objects in young male and female sheep

Robinson, J.E. , Evans, N.P. , Dumbell, R., Solbakk, A., Ropstad, E. and Haraldsen, I.R.H. (2014) Effects of inhibition of gonadotropin releasing hormone secretion on the response to novel objects in young male and female sheep. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 40, pp. 130-139. (doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.11.005) (PMID:24485485)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


This study investigated the actions of blocking the GnRH receptor using a specific agonist on the response of male and female sheep to a novel object placed in their pen. The study is part of a series performed on 46 same sex twin animals. One of the pair received a subcutaneous implant of the GnRH agonist Goserelin acetate every four weeks while the other remained untreated. Implantation began immediately prior to puberty; at 8 weeks in the males and 28 weeks in the females (as timing of puberty is sex specific). To determine the effects of agonist treatment on the reproductive axis blood samples were collected for measurement of testosterone in the males and progesterone in the females. In addition the volume of the scrotum was determined. The present study aimed to determine whether there are sexually differentiated behavioural responses to a novel object at different stages of brain development (8, 28 and 48 weeks of age) and whether these responses are altered by GnRHa treatment. Approach behaviour towards and interactions with the novel object were monitored as was the number of vocalisations per unit time during the test period. GnRHa treatment suppressed testosterone concentrations and testicular growth in the males and progesterone release in the females. Sheep vocalised significantly more prior to weaning (8 weeks of age) than post weaning (28 and 48 weeks of age) suggesting stress on separation from their dams. Our current study shows that males are more likely to leave their conspecifics to approach a novel object than females. As this behaviour was not altered by suppression of the reproductive axis we suggest that, although sex differences are more obviously expressed in the phenotype after puberty, these may be developed during adolescence but not primarily altered during puberty by sex hormones.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robinson, Dr Jane and Evans, Professor Neil
Authors: Robinson, J.E., Evans, N.P., Dumbell, R., Solbakk, A., Ropstad, E., and Haraldsen, I.R.H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Psychoneuroendocrinology
ISSN (Online):1873-3360

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
536311Effects of GnRH blockade on neurocognitive and physiological endpoints.Neil EvansBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/K002821/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED