The segmental distribution of afferent fibers from the vaginal cervix and hypogastric nerve in rats

Judith L. Steinman, Susan M. Carlton, William D. Willis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Scopus citations


    Injections of horseradish peroxidase-wheat germ agglutinin (HRP-WGA) into the walls of the vagina and cervix (vaginocervical injections) of rats resulted in labeling of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) cells located at T11-L4 and L6-S2. In a second group of animals, exposure of the hypogastric nerve to HRP-WGA resulted in a similar bimodal distribution of labeled cells as compared to vaginocervical injections. In a third group, unilateral hypogastric nerve transection prior to injection of HRP-WGA into the vaginocervical walls resulted in a significant reduction in DRG cells labeled at T13, L1, L2, L6 and S1. Bilateral transection of the hypogastric nerves prior to vaginocervical injections eliminated labeled DRG cells at thoracolumbar levels but not at L6 and S1. Bilateral pelvic neurectomy reduced, but did not eliminate labeled DRG cells at L6 and S1 following vaginocervical injections. These results indicate that the hypogastric nerve constitutes a major sensory pathway from the vaginocervical walls to thoracic, lumbar and sacral levels of the spinal cord. The hypogastric nerve may subserve the transmission of noxious input from the vaginocervical walls as well as the activation of ascending spinal pathways involved in neuroendocrine reflexes during parturition.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)25-31
    Number of pages7
    JournalBrain Research
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 13 1992


    • Analgesia
    • Cervix
    • Dorsal root ganglia
    • Hypogastric nerve
    • Pain transmission
    • Pregnancy
    • Primary afferent fiber

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Neuroscience
    • Molecular Biology
    • Clinical Neurology
    • Developmental Biology


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