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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Age-related changes of the GABA-B receptor in the lumbar spinal cord of male rats and penile erection.

Dorsal horn neurons of lumbosacral spinal cord innervate penile vasculature and regulate penile erection. GABAergic system is involved in the regulation of male sexual behavior. Because aging is frequently accompanied by a progressive decline in erectile function, the aim of this work was to examine age-related changes of the GABA-B receptor in the lumbar spinal cord. Sprague-Dawley rats of 10 and 21 days old, 3, 9 and 20 months old were used. GABA-B receptors were evaluated by quantitative autoradiography using [3H]-Baclofen as ligand with or without GABA (10 microM) to determine the non-specific binding. Ten days after birth a homogeneous neuroanatomical distribution pattern was found in the gray matter, however at 20-day-old adult distribution emerged becoming heterogeneous with the highest binding values at layers II-III and X. In dorsal layers a significant decrease was observed in 9-month-old rats while layer X showed an earlier decrease (21-day-old). GABA-B receptor affinity showed significant age-dependent and regional increase. The GABA-B receptor decrease in aged rats seems not to be related to this receptor inhibitory function in penile erection. Moreover the changes found in GABA-B receptor binding anatomical distribution may indicate its role in the morphological development of the lumbar spinal cord rather than in the decline of the erectile function.[1]


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