[en] Age Factors ; Animals ; Castration ; Cloaca/drug effects ; Copulation/physiology ; Coturnix ; Estradiol/pharmacology ; Female ; Follicle Stimulating Hormone/blood ; Luteinizing Hormone/blood ; Male ; Sex Differentiation/drug effects ; Sexual Behavior, Animal/drug effects ; Testosterone/pharmacology
[en] Three experiments were performed to analyze the time course of demasculinization in the Japanese quail and to test the activating and organizing effects of estradiol (E2) in adult sexually active birds. In Experiment 1, males and females were castrated at the age of 1 day or 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks and treated as adults with testosterone (T). The age of castration had no effect on behavior and morphology in males. Plasma gonadotrophins (LH and FSH) were, however, higher in males castrated at or before than in those castrated after 2 weeks of age. This suggests that postnatal testicular secretions have organizing effects on the pituitary activity. Females which were castrated before 1 week of age were less sensitive to the activating effects of T than males, but were not fully demasculinized. The demasculinization of different reproductive characteristics such as male sexual behavior, cloacal gland size, and weight of the syringeal muscles is achieved in females at different times posthatching. In Experiment 2, castration of male and female quail at the ages of 4 days or 4 weeks confirmed that postnatal ovarian secretions contribute to the full behavioral and morphological demasculinization of females. It is easier to elicit mounting in T-treated females when they are tested in their home cage instead of a test arena. This difference was not observed in males. During Experiment 3, it was impossible to demasculinize sexually active adult males or females by treatment with Silastic implants of E2. E2 did not maintain sexual behavior in ovariectomized females showing male sexual behavior when treated with T but maintained the behavior in males.