Vagotomy blocks responses to vaginocervical stimulation after genitospinal neurectomy in rats

Rafael Cueva-Rolón, Giorgio Sansone, Ralph Bianca, Lisbeth E. Gómez, Carlos Beyer, Beverly Whipple, Barry R. Komisaruk

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44 Scopus citations


To ascertain whether any effects of vaginocervical stimulation (VS) are mediated by the vagus nerve, all known afferent nerves from the reproductive tract to the spinal cord were transected and the rats were tested for residual responses to VS. After combined bilateral transection of the pelvic, hypogastric, and pudendal nerves (NX), the following responses to VS were greatly reduced or abolished: lordosis to flank-perineum palpation, leg extension, immobilization, and blockage of both tail withdrawal to radiant heat and leg withdrawal to foot pinch. However, after these nerve cuts, the following persisted as significant residual responses to VS: 1) analgesia [measured as increase in vocalization threshold (VOCT) to tailshock], 2) pupil dilatation (PD), and 3) increase in heart rate (HR). Subsequent bilateral subdiaphragmatic vagotomy (VX) significantly reduced the magnitude of PD and abolished the analgesia. By contrast, VX produced no significant effect on the HR increase to VS. The above findings provide evidence that brain-mediated responses to vaginocervical stimulation can be elicited via the vagus nerves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Analgesia
  • Cervix
  • Hypogastric nerve
  • Pelvic nerve
  • Pudendal nerve
  • Pupil dilatation
  • Vagina
  • Vagus nerve


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