Effects of prenatal androgens on rhesus monkeys: A model system to explore the organizational hypothesis in primates
After proposing the organizational hypothesis from research in prenatally androgenized guinea pigs (Phoenix, C.H., Goy, R.W., Gerall, A.A., Young, W.C., 1959. Organizational action of prenatally administered testosterone propionate on the tissues mediating mating behavior in the female guinea pig. Endocrinology 65, 369–382.), the same authors almost immediately extended the hypothesis to a nonhuman primate model, the rhesus monkey. Studies over the last 50 years have verified that prenatal androgens have permanent effects in rhesus monkeys on the neural circuits that underlie sexually dimorphic behaviors. These behaviors include both sexual and social behaviors, all of which are also influenced by social experience. Many juvenile behaviors such as play, mounting, and vocal behaviors are masculinized and/or defeminized, and aspects of adult sexual behavior are both masculinized (e.g. approaches, sex contacts, and mounts) and defeminized (e.g. sexual solicits). Different behavioral endpoints have different periods of maximal susceptibility to the organizing actions of prenatal androgens. Aromatization is not important, as both testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are equally effective in rhesus monkeys. Although the full story of the effects of prenatal androgens on sexual and social behaviors in the rhesus monkey has not yet completely unfolded, much progress has been made. Amazingly, a large number of the inferences drawn from the original 1959 study have proved applicable to this nonhuman primate model.
Thornton, J., J. Zehr, and M. D. Loose. 2009. "Effects of prenatal androgens on rhesus monkeys: A model system to explore the organizational hypothesis in primates." Hormones And Behavior 55(5): 633-645.
Hormones And Behavior