Evidence that oxytocin is an endogenous stimulator of autonomic sympathetic preganglionics: The pupillary dilatation response to vaginocervical stimulation in the rat

Giorgio R. Sansone, Barry R. Komisaruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vaginocervical mechanostimulation (VS) was shown previously to release oxytocin within the spinal cord and to induce pupillary dilatation. In the present study, (a) injection of oxytocin directly to the spinal cord (10 or 25 μg intrathecally [i.t.] in 5 μl saline) induced pupillary dilatation when observed 1 min after the end of the injection and (b) injection of an oxytocin receptor antagonist ([d(C2H5)-Tyr (Me)2-Orn8]-Vasotocin {OTA}; 25 μg i.t. in 5 μl saline) significantly attenuated the pupillary dilatation response to VS, when VS was applied 3 min after the end of the injection. Since activation of autonomic sympathetic preganglionic neurons in the thoracic spinal cord produces pupillary dilatation, we propose that oxytocin is a central nervous system neurotransmitter that stimulates these neurons directly, or perhaps indirectly, and thus is a mediator of VS-produced pupillary dilatation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
Volume898
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Oxytocin
  • Pupillary dilatation
  • Rat
  • Spinal cord
  • Vaginocervical stimulation

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