Sexual experience induces the expression of gastrin-releasing peptide and oxytocin receptors in the spinal ejaculation generator in rats

Takumi Oti, Ryota Ueda, Ryoko Kumagai, Junta Nagafuchi, Takashi Ito, Tatsuya Sakamoto, Yasuhiko Kondo, Hirotaka Sakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Male sexual function in mammals is controlled by the brain neural circuits and the spinal cord centers located in the lamina X of the lumbar spinal cord (L3–L4). Recently, we reported that hypothalamic oxytocin neurons project to the lumbar spinal cord to activate the neurons located in the dorsal lamina X of the lumbar spinal cord (dXL) via oxytocin receptors, thereby facilitating male sexual activity. Sexual experiences can influence male sexual activity in rats. However, how this experience affects the brain–spinal cord neural circuits underlying male sexual activity remains un-known. Focusing on dXL neurons that are innervated by hypothalamic oxytocinergic neurons controlling male sexual function, we examined whether sexual experience affects such neural circuits. We found that >50% of dXL neurons were activated in the first ejaculation group and ~30% in the control and intromission groups in sexually naïve males. In contrast, in sexually experienced males, ~50% of dXL neurons were activated in both the intromission and ejaculation groups, compared to ~30% in the control group. Furthermore, sexual experience induced expressions of gastrin-releasing peptide and oxytocin receptors in the lumbar spinal cord. This is the first demonstration of the effects of sexual experience on molecular expressions in the neural circuits controlling male sexual activity in the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10362
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Volume22
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021

Keywords

  • Brain–spinal cord neural circuits
  • Gastrin-releasing peptide
  • Lumbosacral spinal cord
  • Male sexual activity
  • Oxytocin
  • Sexual experience
  • Spinal ejaculation generator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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