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Sympathetic pathways and adrenergic innervation of the penis
Lund University Hospital.
Lund University Hospital.
Lund University Hospital.
2000 (English)In: International journal of impotence research, ISSN 0955-9930, E-ISSN 1476-5489, Vol. 12, S5-S12 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The sympathetic nervous system is important for penile function: it mediates detumescence and may contribute to the maintenance of the penis in a non-erect state. The sympathetic preganglionic neurons are found in the intermediolateral gray matter of the spinal cord. Postganglionic neurons are located to the sympathetic chain ganglia, the inferior mesenteric, hypogastric and pelvic ganglia, and possibly to ganglia near the target organ. Sympathetic fibres can be found in the pelvic, cavernous, and pudendal nerves. Stimulation of the sympathetic pathways to the penis may, however, also produce erection. It has been suggested that the suprasacral vasodilator pathway is a sympathetic cholinergic pathway, operating through cholinergic neurons in the pelvic plexus. In the penis, there is a rich sympathetic, adrenergic innervation of the corpus cavernosum (CC) and the vasculature, and in particular of the helicine arteries. Sympathetic, adrenergic nerves also contain neuropeptide Y. Parasympathetic cholinergic nerves, which mediate CC relaxation and erection, contain not only acetylcholine, but also vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, nitric oxide synthase, and probably other mediators and/or mediator-synthesizing enzymes. Activation of sympathetic adrenergic nerves causes release of noradrenaline, acting on alpha-adrenoceptors in the trabecular smooth muscle of the CC and in penile vessels. The role of interactions between different transmitters and mediators, released from nerves or generated locally, in the regulation of contraction and relaxation of CC and penile vessels, needs further study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group , 2000. Vol. 12, S5-S12 p.
Keyword [en]
noradrenaline; sympathetic nerves; penile erection; penile detumescence; alpha adrenoceptors
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-59773ISI: 86915800002PubMedID: 10849560OAI: diva2:353378
Available from: 2010-09-26 Created: 2010-09-24 Last updated: 2010-10-26

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Hedlund, Petter
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