2016 Volume 92 Issue 2 Pages 69-75
A sexually dimorphic spinal gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) system in the lumbosacral spinal cord, which projects to the lower spinal centers, controls erection and ejaculation in rats. However, little is known about the postnatal development of this system. In this study, we therefore examined the postnatal development of the male-dominant spinal GRP system and its sexual differentiation in rats using immunohistochemistry. Our results show that male-dominant expression of GRP is prominent from the onset of puberty and that sexually dimorphism persists into adulthood. These results suggest that androgen surge during male puberty plays an important role in the development and maintenance of the male-specific GRP function in the rat spinal cord.