Prevention by NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester of apomorphine- and oxytocin-induced penile erection and yawning: site of action in the brain

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1994 Jul;48(3):799-804. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(94)90349-2.


The effect of NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (NAME), a potent inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) synthase, injected into different brain areas on penile erection and yawning induced by apomorphine or oxytocin was studied in male rats. The compound was found to be able to prevent the above behavioral responses dose dependently when injected into the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), but not in the caudate nucleus, medial septum, preoptic area, and the CA1 field of the hippocampus. When injected in the PVN, 5 micrograms of NAME induced a 30% reduction of apomorphine and oxytocin responses, while 20 micrograms induced an almost complete reduction. The effect of NAME seems to be related to the inhibition of guanylate cyclase secondary to the prevention of NO formation, because a dose-dependent reduction of apomorphine and oxytocin responses was obtained also with the inhibitor of guanylate cyclase methylene blue injected intracerebroventricularly (100-400 micrograms ICV), but not into the PVN. The results provide further support for a neurotransmitter role of central NO in the control of penile erection and yawning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Arginine / pharmacology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Guanylate Cyclase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Guanylate Cyclase / metabolism
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Methylene Blue / pharmacology
  • Microinjections
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester
  • Nitric Oxide / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Oxytocin / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology
  • Penile Erection / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Yawning / drug effects*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Oxytocin
  • Arginine
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Apomorphine
  • Methylene Blue
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester