Dopamine, the Medial Preoptic Area, and Male Sexual Behavior (2005)

Comments: Continued evidence that dopamine regulates male sexual behavior and the hypoathlamus is a central player. I suspect that porn-induced ED involves changes in the sexual centers of the hypothalamus.


Dominguez JM, Hull EM.

Physiol Behav. 2005 Oct 15;86(3):356-68. Epub 2005 Aug 30.

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1270, USA.

The medial preoptic area (MPOA), at the rostral end of the hypothalamus, is important for the regulation of male sexual behavior. Results showing that male sexual behavior is impaired following MPOA lesions and enhanced with MPOA stimulation support this conclusion. The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) facilitates male sexual behavior in all studied species, including rodents and humans.

Here, we review data indicating that the MPOA is one site where DA may act to regulate male sexual behavior. DA agonists microinjected into the MPOA facilitate sexual behavior, whereas DA antagonists impair copulation, genital reflexes, and sexual motivation. Moreover, microdialysis experiments showed increased release of DA in the MPOA as a result of precopulatory exposure to an estrous female and during copulation. DA may remove tonic inhibition in the MPOA, thereby enhancing sensorimotor integration, and also coordinate autonomic influences on genital reflexes. In addition to sensory stimulation, other factors influence the release of DA in the MPOA, including testosterone, nitric oxide, and glutamate. Here we summarize and interpret these data