Participation of paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus in central regulation of penile erection in the rat

Kuang Kuo Chen, Samuel H.H. Chan, Luke S. Chang, Julie Y.H. Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the possible participation of the paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus in central regulation of penile erection. Materials and Methods: Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized and maintained with pentobarbital sodium. The intracavernous pressure (ICP) was used as an experimental index for penile erection, and was recorded alongside systemic arterial pressure and heart rate. The effect on ICP of electrical (30-s train of 30-120 μA, 40-160 Hz, 1-ms rectangular pulses) or chemical (L-glutamate, 0.5 nmol/50 nl.) activation of the paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus (PVN) or hippocampal formation was evaluated. Results: Electrical activation of the PVN elicited both multiple and single episodes of elevation in ICP, along with visible erection and ejaculation. The former pattern exhibited an increase in ICP that was more sustained, with higher peak amplitude and longer latency. Chemical stimulation of neuronal perikarya in the PVN also resulted in similar patterns of rise in ICP and visible erection. These effects were, nonetheless, not accompanied by significant alterations in systemic arterial pressure and heart rate. Activation of the hippocampal formation, as we reported previously, similarly elicited multiple and single episodes of increase in ICP. These erectile responses, however, were substantially reduced or eliminated upon electrolytic lesion of the ipsilateral PVN. Conclusion: These observations suggest that the PVN may be an important nucleus that participates in central neural regulation of penile erection in the rat. Furthermore, an efferent pathway(s) from the hippocampal formation to PVN may constitute part of the neural circuitry in the forebrain in the regulation of erectile functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-244
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Volume158
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 07 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hippocampal formation
  • Intracavernous pressure
  • Paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus

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