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Eur J Pharmacol. 1997 Jun 11;328(2-3):115-23.

N-methyl-D-aspartic acid-induced penile erection and yawning: role of hypothalamic paraventricular nitric oxide.

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Bernard B. Brodie Department of Neuroscience, University of Cagliari, Italy.


A dose of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA, 50 ng) that induces penile erection and yawning when injected into the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, increased the concentration of NO2- from 1.10 +/- 0.28 microM to 7.32 +/- 1.12 microM and of NO3 from 4.96 +/- 0.69 microM to 10.5 +/- 1.61 microM in the paraventricular dialysate obtained from male rats by in vivo microdialysis. NO2- concentration was not increased by (+/-)-alpha-(amino)-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA, 100 ng) or by trans-(+/-)-1-amino-1,3-cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (ACPD) (100 ng), which were unable to induce these behavioral responses. N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid effect on NO2- concentration, penile erection and yawning was prevented by dizolcipine (MK-801) (10-100 ng) or by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (20 microg), but not by the oxytocin receptor antagonist [d(CH2)5,Tyr(Me)2,Orn8]vasotocin (100 ng), or by the guanylate cyclase inhibitor methylene blue (20 microg) given in the paraventricular nucleus 15 min before N-methyl-D-aspartic acid or by the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol (0.5 mg/kg) given intraperitoneally 30 min before N-methyl-D-aspartic acid. In contrast, the nitric oxide scavenger hemoglobin (20 microg) given in the paraventricular nucleus prevented N-methyl-D-aspartic acid-induced NO2- concentration increase, but was unable to prevent penile erection and yawning. The results suggest that N-methyl-D-aspartic acid induces penile erection and yawning by increasing nitric oxide synthase activity in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, possibly in the cell bodies of oxytocinergic neurons projecting to extra-hypothalamic brain areas and mediating these behavioral responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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