The pattern of vaginocervical stimulation-evoked expression of the proto-oncogene c-fos in lumbar 5-sacral 1 segments of the spinal cord of ovariectomized adult rats was mapped using immunocytochemistry. A calibrated force of mechanostimulation was applied to the vaginal cervix of experimental animals and to the perineum of control animals while they were gently restrained. The number of cells expressing c-fos was significant greater in the experimental than the control animals in laminae I, IV, V-VI and X. The implications of the present findings for elucidating the spinal pathways mediating the various behavioral, neuroendocrine and autonomic effects of vaginocervical stimulation (VS) are discussed.
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