Sexually naïve, hormone-primed, C57BL/6J female mice are not receptive to mating attempts by conspecific males. Repeated experience with sexually active males and concurrent treatment with estradiol and progesterone gradually increases female receptivity over the course of five trials to maximal levels. Ovarian hormones activate their cognate nuclear steroid receptors estrogen receptor-α and progesterone receptor to induce female sexual receptivity. Nuclear receptors recruit coactivators of transcription that include histone acetyltransferases to hormone responsive genes. In this set of studies, we found that the histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium butyrate enhances the experiential acquisition of receptivity. Evidence is provided that the actions of sodium butyrate on receptivity require activated estrogen receptor-α and progesterone.
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