Invited Symposium: Neural Substrates of Sexual Motivation and Performance as Revealed by Neural Immediate-Early Gene Expression


Fos expression following mating


Relay of sensory inputs to the MPN

SPFp: Relay of genital sensory inputs



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Relay of Sensory Information to Circuits Underlying Male Sexual Behavior: Combined Fos and Tract-tracing Studies.

Coolen, L.M. (Dept. Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, USA)

Contact Person: Lique M. Coolen (lique.coolen@uc.edu)


A large portion of my work has focussed on the question to what extent activated neurons in the circuits underlying male sexual behavior, are involved in relay of sensory information. This work involves the use of combined Fos and tract-tracing studies, in the male rat. Brain areas involved in male sexual behavior form an interconnected network through which sensory information is relayed. Expression of c-fos demonstrates that activation in these brain areas reflects their involvement in different components of male sexual behavior, and is related to different sensory inputs. One example is the pathway from lumbosacral spinal cord to the subparafascicular nucleus (SPFp), by which genitosensory information, critical to male sexual behavior, is relayed. This pathway contains the neuropeptide galanin, and consists of neurons in lumbosacral spinal cord and a medial subdivision of SPFp that receives fibers from these lumbosacral neurons. In turn, this subdivision of SPFp relays somatosensory signals through dense efferent projections to portions of other sex-related areas, that express Fos. In addition, I will provide evidence for the existence of an ejaculation-specific subcircuit within a larger neural network underlying male sexual behavior. This subcircuit consists of brainregions that are activated specifically following ejaculation, and are bi-directionally connected with the medial preoptic area.

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Presentation Number SAcoolen0521
Keywords: mating, c-Fos, spinal cord, preoptic area, tract-tracing

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Coolen, L.M.; (1998). Relay of Sensory Information to Circuits Underlying Male Sexual Behavior: Combined Fos and Tract-tracing Studies.. Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/baum/coolen0521/index.html
© 1998 Author(s) Hold Copyright