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Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetes Due to Defect in the NO Mechanisms

A new study sheds light on how erectile dysfunction (ED) interacts with diabetes. The study is expected to improve efficacy in treatments//.

The study, "Lack of Central Nitric Oxide Triggers Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetes," was conducted by Hong Zheng, William G. Mayhan, and Kaushik P. Patel, Departments of Cellular and Integrative Physiology; and Keshore R. Bidasee, Department of Pharmacology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. The results appear in the March 2007 edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, one of 11 peer-reviewed scientific publications issued monthly by The American Physiological Society (APS) (www.The-APS.org).

Background
Sexual dysfunction is a well-recognized consequence of diabetes mellitus in men. Erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation and the loss of seminal emission have all been described by such patients. This study examined induced penile erection, yawning and stretch in diabetic rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats treated with streptozotocin (STZ) to induce diabetes were used as they exhibit sexual and behavioral symptoms similar to those found in diabetic men with sexual dysfunction.

The researchers focused on the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus, located in the brain, an integration center between the central and peripheral nervous systems. The site is involved in numerous functions, including erectile function and sexual behavior, and is a primary site within the forebrain that has been implicated in penile erection. The investigators also examined central nitric oxide (NO within the PVN) which plays an important role in the neurotransmission of normal penile erection.

Penile erection is a behavioral response that occurs in response to the administration of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) within the PVN. At the same time, inhibition of NO synthase with NG-monomethly-L-argining (L-NMMA) pr
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