Modulation by peripheral serotonin of the threshold for sexual reflexes in female rats

Kevin E. Mckenna*, Kelley C. Knight, Richard Mayers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Using immunohistochemical techniques, a large number of serotonergic paracrine cells were identified in the urethral mucosa of the female rat. The functional significance of these cells was investigated. A model for the study of sexual climax in the anesthetized, acutely spinalized female rat was used. In this model, distension of the urethra with saline elicits a stereotyped coordinated genital response which closely resembles the neuromuscular muscular concomitants of sexual climax. Addition of serotonin to the urethal perfusate (10-4-10-7 M) caused a dosed-dependent decrease in the mechanical threshold necessary to elicit the climax-like response. This effect was blocked by a specific 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. The physiological implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1991


  • 5-HT receptors
  • Genital
  • Orgasm
  • Serotonin
  • Sexual climax
  • Uretha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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