Published in Volume
88, Issue 1
(July 1991)J Clin Invest.
1991, The American Society for
A nitric oxide-like factor mediates nonadrenergic-noncholinergic neurogenic relaxation of penile corpus cavernosum smooth muscle.
Department of Urology, Boston University Medical Center, Massachusetts 02118.
Published July 1991
This study was initiated to characterize nonadrenergic-noncholinergic (NANC) inhibitory neurotransmission in penile corpus cavernosum. Using organ baths, isometric tension measurements were made in strips of human and rabbit corpus cavernosum. In examining endothelium-mediated responses, cumulative additions of exogenous acetylcholine elicited dose-dependent relaxations which were significantly reduced or completely inhibited in tissues treated with NG-monomethyl L-arginine (L-NMMA; an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthesis), oxyhemoglobin (a nitric oxide scavenger), or methylene blue (a guanylate cyclase blocker). Tissues exposed to hypoxic conditions (PO2 = 5-10 mmHg) also did not respond to exogenous acetylcholine. Mechanical removal of the endothelium in human corporal strips or in situ treatment of rabbit corpora with detergent blocked the relaxation to acetylcholine. Transmural electrical stimulation of corporal tissue strips denuded of functional endothelium, in the presence of adrenergic blockade with bretylium and muscarinic receptor blockade with atropine, caused frequency-dependent relaxation. This neurogenic relaxation was reduced or prevented by L-NMMA, oxyhemoglobin, methylene blue, and hypoxia. The effects of L-NMMA were reversed by L-arginine and the effects of hypoxia were readily reversed by normoxic conditions. Authentic, exogenous nitric oxide relaxed corporal strips which were contracted with adrenergic agonists and this effect was significantly inhibited by oxyhemoglobin. It is concluded that (a) endothelium-mediated responses of corpus cavernosum smooth muscle are mediated by a diffusible nitric oxide-like substance; (b) NANC neurogenic inhibitory responses do not require functional endothelium, and (c) nitric oxide, or a closely related substance, may act as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in penile corpus cavernosum smooth muscle.
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