Endogenous neurotensin is involved in estrous cycle related alterations in prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex in female rats

Becky Kinkead, Feng Yan, Michael J. Owens, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Ovarian hormones regulate prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle reflex. Results from studies in intact female rodents investigating sex, estrous cycle and ovarian hormone regulation of PPI are inconsistent. In experiment #1, we investigated whether PPI in female rats is influenced by the time of day of testing and the estrous cycle stage of the rat. PPI was examined across the day of proestrus (P) and diestrus 1 (D1) in female rats and compared to males. PPI in males and P females was significantly higher than in D1 females. PPI in males and D1 females was significantly affected by the time of day of testing with PPI being reduced in the afternoon and evening compared to morning. PPI in P females was not significantly affected by the time of day of testing. Previous studies have demonstrated estrous cycle regulation of central nervous system neurotensin (NT) neurons and peripherally administered NT receptor agonists regulate PPI in a manner similar to antipsychotic drugs. Experiment #2 of this study was designed to examine whether endogenous NT is involved in estrous cycle regulation of PPI. The NT receptor antagonist SR 142948A reduced the high levels of PPI during D1 and P. In contrast, when tested at a time of day in which PPI was low in D1 females, administration of both the typical antipsychotic drug haloperidol and the NT receptor antagonist significantly increased PPI. These data support an effect of time of day and estrous cycle stage on PPI in female rats. The estrous cycle variations in PPI are mediated in part by endogenous NT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008



  • Antipsychotic drug
  • Diestrus
  • Ovarian hormones
  • Proestrus
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sensorimotor gating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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