17(12), June 1997: 4849–4855.

D. F. Fiorino, A. Coury, and A. G. Phillips


The Coolidge effect describes the reinitiation of sexual behavior in a “sexually satiated” animal in response to a novel receptive mate. Given the role of the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system in the initiation and maintenance of motivated behavior, microdialysis was used to monitor nucleus accumbens (NAC) DA transmission during copulation, sexual satiety, and the reinitiation of sexual behavior. In agreement with earlier reports, the presentation of an estrous female behind a screen and copulation were associated with significant increases in NAC DA efflux. Return of NAC DA concentrations to baseline values coincided with a period of sexual satiety, although concentrations of the DA metabolites, dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid, remained elevated. The presentation of a novel receptive female behind a screen resulted in a slight increase in NAC DA, which was augmented significantly during renewed copulation with the novel female. The present data suggest that the stimulus properties of a novel receptive female may serve to increase NAC DA transmission in a sexually satiated male rat, and this, in turn, may be related to the reinitiation of sexual behavior.