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Penile erection produced by microstimulation of the sacral spinal cord of the cat

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4 Author(s)
Changfeng Tai ; Dept. of Pharmacology, Pittsburgh Univ., PA, USA ; Booth, A.M. ; de Groat, W.C. ; Roppolo, J.R.

The sacral neural pathways mediating penile erection in the cat were studied by measuring the change in cavernous sinus pressure (CSP) elicited by stimulation of the sacral ventral roots or by microstimulation of the sacral spinal cord. Ventral root stimulation revealed that the S1 segment rather than S2 and S3 spinal segments could evoke the largest CSP responses. Microstimulation in the S1 spinal cord elicited large CSP responses but small or no bladder contractions. Maximal CSP responses were evoked by microstimulation in the middle of the S1 ventral horn, 1.6-2.8 mm below the cord surface and midway between the midline and the lateral edge of the gray matter. The area was 200-400 pm wide (medial to lateral) and extended 1-2 mm in the rostrocaudal direction. Maximal CSP responses to spinal cord microstimulation were elicited by stimulus intensities of 50-150 μA, at a pulse width of 0.2 ms and at frequencies of 30-40 Hz and occurred after delay of 8-40 s. This study suggests that focal microstimulation of the sacral spinal cord might be useful in eliciting penile erectile activity in patients with spinal cord injury

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Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 4 )