A crucial role in ejaculation is thought to be played by a population of lumbar spino-thalamic neurons (LSt), which express galanin and other neuropeptides. In rats, these neurons are activated with ejaculation and their lesion selectively abolishes ejaculation but not other mating behaviors. Consistently with their role, in adult rats and humans, LSt neurons are sexually dimorphic, being more numerous in males. Here we examined whether sexual dimorphism arises early in development, using a transgenic mouse line in which the expression of fluorescent protein is driven by the galanin promoter. We focused on postnatal day 4, shortly after a transient perinatal androgen surge in males that could play an organizational role in LSt development. We found a population of brightly fluorescent neurons organized in bilateral columns dorsolateral to the central canal in segments L1-L5, the expected location of the LSt group. Their number was close to that of adult preparations and significantly greater in male than in female siblings (+19%; CI95% : +13% to +27%; p<0.01). This was not due to a generalized higher galanin expression in the male since fluorescent L4 DRG neurons, innervating the hindlimbs and lower back, were not significantly dimorphic (-4%; CI95% : -10% to +8%; p=0.92). Unexpectedly, we found in cervical segments a population of fluorescent neurons having a location relative to the central canal similar to the LSt. Thus, the LSt group is sexually dimorphic soon after birth. However, it is possible that only a subset of its neurons participate in the control of ejaculation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
|Titolo:||Lumbar spinal cord neurons putatively involved in ejaculation are sexually dimorphic in early postnatal mice|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 Articolo in Rivista|