We tested the significance of a population of lumbar spinothalamic cells for male sexual behavior in rats. These cells are positioned to relay ejaculation-related signals from reproductive organs to the brain, and they express neurokinin-1 receptors. Ablation of these neurons by the selective toxin SSP- saporin resulted in a complete disruption of ejaculatory behavior. In contrast, other components of sexual behavior remained intact. These results suggest that this population of spinothalamic cells plays a pivotal role in generation of ejaculatory behavior and may be part of a spinal ejaculation generator.
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