Neonatal and pubertal, but not adult, ovarian steroids are necessary for the development of female-typical patterns of dodging to protect a food item

Rats protect food by dodging horizontally away from a conspecific. Females and males use different movement and stepping patterns to execute a dodge. An unresolved question is whether exposure to ovarian steroids in females is necessary for the development of the female-typical pattern. Females ovariectomized neonatally and prior to puberty use a combination of male and female tactics. Pregnant females, however, use a female-typical pattern of dodging, suggesting that the patterns used by prepubertal ovariectomized females are not due to their increase in body mass. Thus, the contribution of ovarian steroids to the development of female-typical patterns of behavior needs to be studied further at both a behavioral and neural level with regard to the organization of movement.

Rats protect food by dodging horizontally away from a conspecific. Females and males use different movement and stepping patterns to execute a dodge. An unresolved question is whether exposure to ovarian steroids in females is necessary for the development of the female-typical pattern. Females ovariectomized neonatally and prior to puberty use a combination of male and female tactics. Pregnant females, however, use a female-typical pattern of dodging, suggesting that the patterns used by prepubertal ovariectomized females are not due to their increase in body mass. Thus, the contribution of ovarian steroids to the development of female-typical patterns of behavior needs to be studied further at both a behavioral and neural level with regard to the organization of movement.

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