Effect of intracavernous administration of angiopoietin-4 on erectile function in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic mouse

Mi-Hye Kwon, Ji-Kan Ryu, Woo Jean Kim, Hai-Rong Jin, Kang-Moon Song, Ki-Dong Kwon, Dulguun Batbold, Guo Nan Yin, Gou Young Koh, Jun-Kyu Suh
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2013, 10 (12): 2912-27

INTRODUCTION: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a highly prevalent complication of diabetes, and the severity of endothelial dysfunction is one of the most important factors in reduced responsiveness to oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors.

AIM: To study the effects of human angiopoietin-4 (Ang-4) protein on erectile function in diabetic mice.

METHODS: Diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin into 8-week-old C57BL/6J male mice. At 8 weeks after the induction of diabetes, the animals were divided into four groups: control nondiabetic mice and diabetic mice receiving two successive intracavernous injections of phosphate buffered saline (days -3 and 0), a single intracavernous injection of Ang-4 protein (day 0), or two successive intracavernous injections of Ang-4 protein (days -3 and 0).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: One week after treatment, we measured erectile function by electrical stimulation of the cavernous nerve. The penis was harvested and stained with hydroethidine or antibodies to Ang-4, platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, and phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). We also determined the differential expression of Ang-4 in cavernous tissue in the control and diabetic mice. The effect of Ang-4 protein on the phosphorylation of Tie-2, Akt, and eNOS was determined in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by Western blot.

RESULTS: The cavernous expression of Ang-4 was downregulated in diabetic mice; Ang-4 was mainly expressed in endothelial cells. Local delivery of Ang-4 protein significantly increased cavernous endothelial content, induced eNOS phosphorylation, and decreased the generation of superoxide anion and apoptosis in diabetic mice. Ang-4 protein strongly increased the phosphorylation of Tie-2, Akt, and eNOS in HUVECs. Repeated intracavernous injections of Ang-4 induced significant restoration of erectile function in diabetic mice (87% of control values), whereas a single intracavernous injection of Ang-4 protein elicited modest improvement.

CONCLUSIONS: Cavernous endothelial regeneration by use of Ang-4 protein may have potential for the treatment of vascular disease-induced ED, such as diabetic ED.

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