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Review

Erectile Function and Sexual Behavior: A Review of the Role of Nitric Oxide in the Central Nervous System

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Neurosciences and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, Italy
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Academic Editor: Jesus Tejero
Biomolecules 2021, 11(12), 1866; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11121866
Received: 6 November 2021 / Revised: 6 December 2021 / Accepted: 8 December 2021 / Published: 11 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Biological Factors)
Nitric oxide (NO), the neuromodulator/neurotransmitter formed from l-arginine by neuronal, endothelial and inducible NO synthases, is involved in numerous functions across the body, from the control of arterial blood pressure to penile erection, and at central level from energy homeostasis regulation to memory, learning and sexual behavior. The aim of this work is to review earlier studies showing that NO plays a role in erectile function and sexual behavior in the hypothalamus and its paraventricular nucleus and the medial preoptic area, and integrate these findings with those of recent studies on this matter. This revisitation shows that NO influences erectile function and sexual behavior in males and females by acting not only in the paraventricular nucleus and medial preoptic area but also in extrahypothalamic brain areas, often with different mechanisms. Most importantly, since these areas are strictly interconnected with the paraventricular nucleus and medial preoptic area, send to and receive neural projections from the spinal cord, in which sexual communication between brain and genital apparatus takes place, this review reveals that central NO participates in concert with neurotransmitters/neuropeptides to a neural circuit controlling both the consummatory (penile erection, copulation, lordosis) and appetitive components (sexual motivation, arousal, reward) of sexual behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitric oxide; nitric oxide donors; nitric oxide targets; penile erection; sexual behavior; rat nitric oxide; nitric oxide donors; nitric oxide targets; penile erection; sexual behavior; rat
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MDPI and ACS Style

Melis, M.R.; Argiolas, A. Erectile Function and Sexual Behavior: A Review of the Role of Nitric Oxide in the Central Nervous System. Biomolecules 2021, 11, 1866. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11121866

AMA Style

Melis MR, Argiolas A. Erectile Function and Sexual Behavior: A Review of the Role of Nitric Oxide in the Central Nervous System. Biomolecules. 2021; 11(12):1866. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11121866

Chicago/Turabian Style

Melis, Maria Rosaria, and Antonio Argiolas. 2021. "Erectile Function and Sexual Behavior: A Review of the Role of Nitric Oxide in the Central Nervous System" Biomolecules 11, no. 12: 1866. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11121866

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