Developing a novel method for the analysis of spinal cord – penile neurotransmission mechanisms


Sexual dysfunction can be caused by impaired neurotransmission from the peripheral to the central nervous system. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the input of sensory information from the peripheral genital area and investigate the control mechanisms in the spinal cord to clarify the pathological basis of sensory abnormalities in the genital area. However, an in vivo evaluation system for the spinal cord–penile neurotransmission mechanism has not yet been developed. Here, we developed new method, urethane-anesthetized rats were used to evaluate neuronal firing induced by innocuous or nociceptive stimulation of the penis using extracellular recording or patch-clamp techniques in the lumbosacral spinal dorsal horn and electrophysiological evaluation in the peripheral pelvic nerves. As a result, innocuous and nociceptive stimuli-evoked neuronal firing was successfully recorded in the deep and superficial spinal dorsal horns, respectively. The innocuous stimuli-evoked nerve firing was also recorded in the pelvic nerve. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a successful quantitative evaluation of penile stimuli-evoked neuronal firing. This method is not only useful for analyzing the pathological basis of spinal cord–penile neurotransmission in sexual dysfunction but also provides a useful evaluation system in the search for new treatments.

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Original article information


International Journal of Molecular Sciences


Developing a novel method for the analysis of spinal cord – penile neurotransmission mechanisms.


Daisuke Uta, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Yuuya Nagaoka, Yurika Kino, Takuya Fujita