Spinal Control of Sexual Reflexes: An Overview from Studies in Animal Models


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Abstract

Central nervous system control of female genital arousal and climax has been reviewed from data obtained in animal studies. Sensory inputs from the pelvic organs are mediated via the pudendal nerve (motor) and pelvic and hypogastric nerves (autonomic). The afferents of these nerves that relay sensory information terminate in L6-S1 and T13-L3. Interneurons located in the spinal gray (T13-S1), especially in the dorsal gray, commissure and surrounding the intermediolateral cell column are important in relaying afferent information to spinal efferent neurons. These interneurons also send messages to the brain. Vagal innervation of the pelvic organs may supplement the spinal systems and may be important in relaying sensory information after spinal cord injury.

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