Apomorphine and haloperidol, but not domperidone, affect penile reflexes in rats

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1988 Sep;31(1):201-8. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(88)90334-6.


Previous studies have shown that systemic administration of the dopamine agonist apomorphine produced a biphasic effect on erection in the freely moving rat, with lower doses facilitating, and high doses inhibiting, erection. However, those studies did not distinguish between erection per se and seminal emission. The present results demonstrate that apomorphine produces a similar biphasic effect on penile reflexes in the restrained, supine rat, while facilitating seminal emission in a monophasic fashion. Haloperidol, a centrally-acting dopamine antagonist, either blocked the effects produced by apomorphine administration, or had actions opposite to those of apomorphine. Domperidone, a dopamine antagonist that does not readily penetrate the blood-brain barrier, did not antagonize apomorphine's effects, and did not affect penile responses when administered alone. These results suggest that dopamine receptors in the central nervous system regulate genital responses, and that effects on penile reflexes and seminal emission can be experimentally dissociated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology*
  • Copulation / drug effects
  • Domperidone / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Haloperidol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Penile Erection / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects


  • Domperidone
  • Haloperidol
  • Apomorphine