Afferents originating from the dorsal penile nerve excite oxytocin cells in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of the rat

Brain Res. 1996 Sep 16;733(2):292-6. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(96)00800-1.


Electrical stimulation of the dorsal penile nerve (DPN) produced orthodromic excitation in about half of oxytocin cells in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). In contrast, less than 10% of vasopressin cells were excited. Tactile stimulation of the glans penis by a paintbrush produced excitation in 40% of oxytocin cells. Castration did not prevent activation of oxytocin cells. These results suggest that somatosensory information from the penis is transmitted to the PVN through the DPN and that such afferent input preferentially innervates oxytocin cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Functional Laterality
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orchiectomy
  • Oxytocin / physiology*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology*
  • Penis / innervation*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Pituitary Gland / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Touch


  • Oxytocin