Organizational influence of the postnatal testosterone surge on the circadian rhythm of core body temperature of adult male rats

Damian G. Zuloaga, Robert F. McGivern, Robert J. Handa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus coordinates physiological and behavioral circadian rhythms such as activity, body temperature, and hormone secretion. Circadian rhythms coordinated by the SCN often show sex differences arising from both organizational and activational effects of gonadal hormones. In males, little is known about the organizational role of testosterone on the circadian regulation of core body temperature (CBT) in adulthood. To explore this, we castrated or sham-operated male rats on the day of birth, and at 4 months of age, implanted them with transmitters that measured CBT rhythms under a 12:12 light/dark cycle. This study revealed a significantly earlier rise in CBT during the light phase in neonatally castrated males. Subsequently, we found that treating neonatally castrated males with testosterone propionate (TP) in adulthood did not reverse the effect of neonatal castration, thus indicating an organizational role for testosterone. In contrast, a single injection of TP at the time of neonatal surgery, to mimic the postnatal surge of testosterone, coupled with TP treatment in adulthood, normalized the circadian rise in CBT. In a final study we examined CBT circadian rhythms in intact adult male and female rats and detected no differences in the rise of CBT during the light phase, although there was a greater overall elevation in female CBT. Together, results of these studies reveal an early organizational role of testosterone in males on the timing of the circadian rise of CBT, a difference that does not appear to reflect "defeminization".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - May 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Body temperature
  • Castration
  • Postnatal testosterone surge
  • Rat
  • Sex difference
  • Testosterone propionate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Organizational influence of the postnatal testosterone surge on the circadian rhythm of core body temperature of adult male rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this