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Volume 22, Issue 6 (November 2020) 22, 629–635; 10.4103/aja.aja_10_20

Comparative study of intracavernous pressure and cavernous pathology after bilateral cavernous nerve crushing and resection in rats

Meng Li, Yi-Ming Yuan, Bi-Cheng Yang, Sheng-Ji Gu, Hui-Xi Li, Zhong-Cheng Xin, Dong Fang, Rui-Li Guan

Molecular Biology Laboratory of Andrology Center, Peking University First Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100034, China

Correspondence: Dr. RL Guan (guanruili@bjmu.edu.cn) or Dr. D Fang (fdmailbox@126.com)

Date of Submission 10-Jun-2019 Date of Acceptance 14-Jan-2020 Date of Web Publication 31-Mar-2020


This study aimed to compare the effects of bilateral cavernous nerve crushing (BCNC) and bilateral cavernous nerve resection (BCNR) on intracavernous pressure (ICP) and cavernous pathology in rats and to explore the optimal treatment time for the BCNC and BCNR models. Seventy-two male rats aged 12 weeks were randomly divided into three equal groups: Sham (both cavernous nerves exposed only), BCNC (BCN crushed for 2 min), and BCNR (5 mm of BCN resected). Erectile function was then measured at 1 week, 3 weeks, and 5 weeks after nerve injury, and penile tissues were harvested for histological and molecular analyses by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, Western blot, and cytokine array. We found that erectile function parameters including the maximum, area, and slope of ICP/mean arterial pressure (MAP) significantly decreased after BCNR and BCNC at 1 week and 3 weeks. At 5 weeks, no significant differences were observed in ICP/MAP between the BCNC and Sham groups, whereas the ICP/MAP of the BCNR group remained significantly lower than that of the Sham group. After BCNC and BCNR, the amount of neuronal-nitric oxide synthase-positive fibers, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells decreased, whereas the amount of collagen III content increased. These pathological changes recovered over time, especially in the BCNC group. Our findings demonstrate that BCNC leads to acute and reversible erectile dysfunction, thus treatment time should be restricted to the first 3 weeks post-BCNC. In contrast, the self-healing ability of the BCNR model is poor, making it more suitable for long-term treatment research.

Keywords: cavernous nerve crushing; cavernous nerve resection; erectile dysfunction; intracavernous pressure

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