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Volume 15, Issue 5 (September 2013) 15, 646–651; 10.1038/aja.2013.60

Resveratrol, an activator of SIRT1, restores erectile function in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

Wen Yu, Zan Wan, Xue-Feng Qiu, Yun Chen and Yu-Tian Dai

Department of Urology, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital, School of Medicine, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210008, China

Correspondence: Dr YT Dai, (ytdai@hotmail.com)

Received 15 January 2013; Revised 28 March 2013; Accepted 20 April 2013 Advance online publication 24 June 2013


The high incidence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in diabetes highlights a need for effective treatment strategies. Resveratrol, an activator of silent information regulator 2-related enzymes 1 (sirtuin1, SIRT1), has received attention for its valuable effects in cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, longevity and cardiovascular disease. To explore the effects of resveratrol in diabetes-induced ED, resveratrol was administered to rats with streptozocin (65 mg kg−1)-induced diabetes. Erectile function, cavernous structure, tissue protein expression of silent information regulator 2-related enzymes 1 (sirtuin1, SIRT1), p53 and forkhead transcription factor O 3a (FOXO3a), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in the corpora cavernosa were studied. We found that SIRT1 was expressed in cavernosal tissue, and it was downregulated in the corpora of diabetic rats. The administration of resveratrol upregulated the expression of SIRT1 and restored erectile function. In contrast, resveratrol downregulated the expression of p53 and FOXO3a, which regulate apoptosis and oxidative stress. Furthermore, the resveratrol-treated group showed an improvement in smooth muscle content, SOD activity and MDA levels when compared with the diabetic group. Therefore, the ability of resveratrol to improve diabetes-induced ED is likely related to its activation of SIRT1 expression, thus causing the suppression of apoptosis and resistance towards oxidative stress.

Keywords: apoptosis; erectile dysfunction; oxidative stress; resveratrol

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