Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Intracavernosal injection of vascular endothelial growth factor induces nitric oxide synthase isoforms.

OBJECTIVE: To identify genes that are affected by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), as an intracavernosal injection with VEGF improved the recovery of erectile function in a rat model of arteriogenic impotence, specifically examining the three nitric oxide synthase (NOS) genes, nNOS, eNOS, and iNOS.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Male rats had their pudendal arteries ligated or underwent a sham operation. They were then treated by an intracavernosal injection with 4 microg of VEGF in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or PBS alone. At 6 and 24 h after treatment electrostimulation was applied to the cavernosal nerve and the intracorporal pressure measured. The erectile tissue was then harvested for RNA isolation and cryo-sectioning. The isolated RNA was used for microarray and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses, and the tissue sections for immunohistochemical analysis.

RESULTS: Microarray analysis detected nNOS, eNOS and iNOS at very low expression levels in PBS-treated rats; expression levels were higher for eNOS and iNOS in all VEGF-treated rats. These results were further confirmed by RT-PCR analysis. Immunohistochemical analysis identified the cavernosal endothelium and smooth muscle as the tissue types where eNOS and iNOS were up-regulated, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of the induction of both eNOS and iNOS in the penis after intracavernosal VEGF. These events may help support a significant recovery of erectile function after interrupting the blood supply to the penis.

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