[en] aromatase knockout mice ; estrogen ; open field ; chronic mild stress ; forced swim test ; elevated plus maze test ; anxiety ; depression
[en] It is well known that estradiol derived from neural aromatization of testosterone plays a crucial role in the development of the male brain and the display of sexual behaviors in adulthood. It was recently found that male aromatase knockout mice (ArKO) deficient in estradiol due to a mutation in the aromatase gene have general deficits in coital behavior and are sexually less motivated. We wondered whether these behavioral deficits of ArKO males could be related to changes in activity, exploration, anxiety and "depressive-like" symptomatology. ArKO and wild type (WT) males were subjected to open field (OF), elevated plus maze (EPM), and forced swim tests (FST), after being exposed or not to chronic mild stress (CMS). CNIS was used to evaluate the impact of chronic stressful procedures and to unveil possible differences between genotypes. There was no effect of genotype on OF, EPM and FST behavioral parameters. WT and ArKO mice exposed to CMS or not exhibited the same behavioral profile during these three types of tests. However, all CMS-exposed mice (ArKO and WT) spent less time in the center of the EPM. Additionally, floating duration measured in the FST increased between two tests in both WT and ArKO mice, though that increase was less prominent in mice previously subjected to CNIS than in controls. Therefore, both ArKO and WT males displayed the same behavior and had the same response to CMS however CMS exposure slightly modified the behavior displayed by mice of both genotypes in the FST and EPM paradigms. These results show that ArKO males display normal levels of activity, exploration, anxiety and "depressive-like" symptomatology and thus their deficits in sexual behavior are specific in nature and do not result indirectly from other behavioral changes. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V.