Brief Communication abstract

Nature Neuroscience 11, 634 - 636 (2008)
Published online: 18 May 2008 | doi:10.1038/nn.2126

Sexually dimorphic gastrin releasing peptide system in the spinal cord controls male reproductive functions

Hirotaka Sakamoto1, Ken-Ichi Matsuda1, Damian G Zuloaga2, Hisayuki Hongu1, Etsuko Wada3, Keiji Wada3, Cynthia L Jordan2, S Marc Breedlove2 & Mitsuhiro Kawata1


Neurons in the upper lumbar spinal cord project axons containing gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) to innervate lower lumbar regions controlling erection and ejaculation. This system is vestigial in female rats and in males with genetic dysfunction of androgen receptors, but in male rats, pharmacological stimulation of spinal GRP receptors restores penile reflexes and ejaculation after castration. GRP offers new avenues for understanding potential therapeutic approaches to masculine reproductive dysfunction.

  1. Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan.
  2. Program in Neuroscience, Departments of Psychology and Zoology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1101, USA.
  3. Department of Degenerative Neurological Diseases, National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8502, Japan.

Correspondence to: Hirotaka Sakamoto1 e-mail:


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