Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects approximately 50% of malepatients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and is possibly due to the vascular and neuropathic complications of DM. Recently, apoptosis has been regarded as a downstream event in ED. More recently, the importance of alterations in apoptosis-related molecules in the mechanism of DM-induced ED has begun to be appreciated. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) plays a role via ETA and ETB receptors in the regulation of cavernosal smooth-muscle tone in penile tissues. We found that the ET-1 level in the penis of rats with DM was higher than that in the penis of control animals. The present study investigated a rat model in which DM was induced by a 3-week regimen of streptozotocin (STZ) to assess the expression of several apoptosis-related molecules in penile tissue and, concomitantly, the effects of ET antagonism on these changes. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (weight [±SD], 450 ± 26 g) received a citrate saline vehicle or STZ (65 mg/kg ip). DM was confirmed by the presence of hyperglycemia. Diabetic animals were further separated into two treatment groups 1 week after onset of disease: one group received ETA/B dual receptor antagonist (SB209670) by means of osmotic minipump at a dosage of 1 mg/day, and the other group received saline. Rats in both groups were treated for 2 weeks and then sacrificed. Plasma glucose levels (±SD) in rats with DM were significantly higher than those in rats without DM (506 ± 70 vs. 111 ± 11 mg/dl). In the penile tissue of rats with DM, a 35% decrease in the expression of Bcl-2 protein (an important antiapoptotic marker detectable by immunoblotting) was seen, and ETA/B dual antagonist was observed to significantly counteract this decrease. Real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed that the expression of Bcl-2 mRNA was consistent with Bcl-2 protein expression. Levels of Bax and caspase-3, two important proapoptotic markers, were not significantly altered in the present study. Thus, we conclude that, in the penis of rats with early stage DM, the protection against apoptosis has decreased but can be improved by ET antagonism.
|Number of pages
|Experimental Biology and Medicine
|Published - 2006 Jun
- Diabetic penis
- Endothelin antagonist
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology