Change of erectile function and responsiveness to phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors at different stages of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats

Sung Yong Cho, Kwanjin Park, Jae-Seung Paick, Soo Woong Kim
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2011, 8 (5): 1352-61

INTRODUCTION: It has been suggested that risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) increases with duration of diabetes and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5I) are not as effective in treatment of diabetes-associated ED. However, few studies have investigated time-dependent change in erectile function during the course of diabetes.

AIM: To investigate time-dependent change in erectile function and responsiveness to PDE5I in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and to understand the pathophysiology of diabetic ED.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: At 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 weeks after diabetic induction, erectile function was assessed by cavernous nerve stimulation before and after administration of DA-8159, a novel PDE5I. Penile tissue was assessed for apoptosis with immunohistochemistry. Protein expression of Rho-kinase 2 (ROCK2), myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) was evaluated by Western blot.

METHODS: Streptozotocin was injected into 50 8-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats, which were then classified into five diabetic groups according to the observation period.

RESULTS: Diabetic rats maintained normal erectile responses until 6 weeks of diabetes. Following 8 weeks, the rats showed lower erectile responses at higher frequencies of nerve stimulation, which were normalized to control by administration of DA-8159. In contrast, erectile responses were significantly decreased in 10-week diabetic rats, and administration of DA-8159 resulted in partial recovery of normal responses. At more than 12 weeks, rats demonstrated severe deterioration of erectile function, which did not fully respond to PDE5I. Corporal apoptosis was significantly increased after 10 weeks. Upregulation of ROCK2 was found at 6 weeks, and was followed by an increase of MYPT1 phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of eNOS showed marked suppression at 6 weeks and remained lower during the experimental period.

CONCLUSIONS: Impairment of erectile function was followed by decreased responsiveness to PDE5I during the course of diabetes. The RhoA/ROCK pathway played an important role in diabetes-associated ED.

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