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      Vaginocervical Stimulation Releases Oxytocin within the Spinal Cord in Rats

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          Vaginocervical stimulation (VS) significantly elevated the concentration of oxytocin (OT) in spinal cord superfusates of 8 intact urethane-anesthetized rats measured 10–15 min after VS (median [interquartile range]: 1.7 [1.00–3.37] pg/ml) compared to that measured 10–15 min before VS (1.1 [1.01–1.40] pg/ml). When VS was administered once (n = 8), it produced a 55% increase over baseline values; when administered a second time 45 min later (n = 6), it produced only a 22% increase over pre-VS values. The effects of estrogen on the VS-induced release of OT were then investigated using ovariectomized rats that were treated either with estradiol benzoate (EB; 10 µg/100 g bw) (n = 6) or with an oil vehicle (n = 6) subcutaneously for 3 days. The EB treatment significantly elevated the basal levels of OT released into spinal cord superfusates above vehicle control levels. Within 5–10 min after the onset of VS, OT concentrations in the superfusates were significantly higher in EB-treated than in vehicle-treated rats. The vehicle-treated rats did not show a significant elevation in OT concentration following VS. To rule out the possibility that the posterior pituitary gland was the source of this OT, the effect of hypophysectomy (HYPOX) was assessed on the VS-induced release of OT into spinal cord superfusates and plasma. The concentration of OT in spinal cord superfusates of both the HYPOX (n = 5) and intact rats (n = 6) increased significantly from 5.8 [4.4–6.5] pg/ml pre-VS to 7.9 [6.7–10.3] pg/ml immediately after VS, and from 4.4 [3.8–5] pg/ml pre-VS to 5.1 [4.6–5.7] pg/ml immediately after VS, respectively. There was no significant difference in baseline levels of OT in cerebrospinal fluid between the two groups. By contrast, plasma OT levels, while significantly elevated in response to VS from 3.42 [2.9–5.34] pg/ml baseline to 7.25 [5.33–15.77] pg/ml in the intact group, failed to respond significantly to VS in the HYPOX group (n = 5). The present findings provide evidence of a direct estrogen-dependent release of OT within the spinal cord in response to VS, presumably via descending oxytocinergic neurons.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Chronic catheterization of the spinal subarachnoid space.

          To administer drugs into the spinal subarachnoid space of unanesthetized and intact rats and rabbits, a procedure is described whereby a polyethylene catheter (PE-10) may be inserted through a puncture of the atlanto-occipital membrane and secured to the skull. Calibration experiments carried out with bromophenol blue dye, 3H-naloxone and 14C-urea revealed first, that there was little rostro-caudal diffusion of the injectate along the spinal axis and secondly, that even for compounds such as naloxone which can rapidly permeate neural tissues, the levels which do appear in the brain are small following the spinal subarachnoid administration of the drug. Control injections, administered either acutely or repeatedly over a prolonged period of time, had no detectable effect on the animal's behavior. These observations, as well as the lack of pathology in the spinal cords of rats having such catheters for periods of up to 4 months suggests that the implant is well tolerated.
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            The course of paraventricular hypothalamic efferents to autonomic structures in medulla and spinal cord.

            By application of the anterograde transport technique of Phaseolus vulgaris leuco-agglutinin the descending autonomic projection of the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus was investigated. The Phaseolus lectin technique allowed the detection of the cells of origin in the paraventricular PVN, the precise position of two distinct descending axon pathways and the detailed morphology of terminal structures in midbrain, medulla oblongata and spinal cord.
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              Differential colocalization of estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) with oxytocin and vasopressin in the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the female rat brain: an immunocytochemical study.

              Evidence exists for the localization of the newly identified estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) within the rat paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and supraoptic nucleus (SON), regions which lack ERalpha. Presently, we investigate whether ERbeta-like-immunoreactivity (-ir) is found within cells of several major neuropeptide systems of these regions. Young adult Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized (OVX), and 1 week later half of the animals received estradiol-17beta (E). Dual-label immunocytochemistry was performed on adjacent sections by using an ERbeta antibody, followed by an antibody to either oxytocin (OT), arginine-vasopressin (AVP), or corticotropin releasing hormone. Nuclear ERbeta-ir was identified within SON and retrochiasmatic SON, and in specific PVN subnuclei: medial parvicellular part, ventral and dorsal zones, dorsal and lateral parvicellular parts, and in the posterior magnocellular part, medial and lateral zones. However, the ERbeta-ir within magnocellular areas was noticeably less intense. OT-/ERbeta-ir colocalization was confirmed in neurons of the parvicellular subnuclei, in both OVX and OVX+E brains ( approximately 50% of OT and 25% of ERbeta-labeled cells between bregma -1.78 and -2.00). In contrast, few PVN parvicellular neurons contained both AVP- and ERbeta-ir. As well, very little overlap was observed in the distribution of cells containing corticotropin releasing hormone- or ERbeta-ir. In the SON, most nuclear ERbeta-ir colocalized with AVP-ir, whereas few OT-/ERbeta-ir dual-labeled cells were observed. These findings suggest that estrogen can directly modulate specific OT and AVP systems through an ERbeta-mediated mechanism, in a tissue-specific manner.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                May 2002
                29 April 2002
                : 75
                : 5
                : 306-315
                aDepartment of Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, N.J.; bYerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., and cNeurobehavioral Unit, VA Medical Center, East Orange, N.J., USA
                57340 Neuroendocrinology 2002;75:306–315
                © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, References: 53, Pages: 10
                Neural Regulation of Reproductive Hormones


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