Electrophysiological actions of the dopamine agonist apomorphine in the paraventricular nucleus during penile erection.
Author(s): Richards N, Wayman C, Allers KA
Affiliation(s): Discovery Biology, Pfizer Global Research and Development, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich CT13 9NJ, United Kingdom.
Publication date & source: 2009-11-20, Neurosci Lett., 465(3):242-7. Epub 2009 Sep 3.
The ability to achieve and maintain penile erection is necessary for successful copulation. Studies have demonstrated that dopamine receptor stimulation in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus induces penile erection in rodents, and the dopamine agonist apomorphine has been used to treat erectile dysfunction. The aim of this study was to determine the electrophysiological characteristics of PVN neuronal firing activity in anaesthetised rodents during apomorphine-induced erection. Our findings can be placed in two categories; those effects that occur immediately upon apomorphine administration and continue for up to several minutes prior to penile erection, deemed 'pre-erectile', and those effects that were only observed during penile erection and seminal emission. In the pre-erectile period, apomorphine acts on two different populations of PVN neurons to increase or decrease firing rates and increases alpha1 frequency band power in local field potentials. Decreased delta and increased theta frequency power in PVN local field potentials occur only during penile erection and seminal emission. These studies provide further understanding of the coordinated neuronal activity that occurs in the PVN during apomorphine-induced penile erection.