The pathways of the milk-ejection reflex in the ewe have been described at the spinal and mesencephalic levels (Richard, 1970; Richard, Urban & Denamur, 1970). The present paper describes the pathways followed by impulses of mammary and vaginal origin between the mesencephalic reticular formation and the neurohypophysis.
In the anaesthetized ewe the thalamus is not necessary for the transfer of impulses to the neurohypophysis as shown by studying the electrical activities evoked in the pituitary stalk by mammary or vaginal stimulation. These impulses follow a subthalamic pathway through the medial forebrain bundle. In conscious ewes small areas of coagulations in the pathways did not block the milk-ejection reflex during milking because the fibres are diffuse at all levels of the central nervous system. Larger lesions result in non-specific effects which interrupt milk secretion.
Supra-diencephalic structures are not necessary for the milk-ejection reflex.