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Volume 24, Issue 6 (November 2022) 24, 628–632; 10.4103/aja2021119

Quantitative assessment of the aging corpus cavernosum by shear wave elastography

Hao Cheng1,2, Guo-Xiong Liu3, Fei Wang1, Ke Wang3, Li-Tao Ruan1, Lin Yang3

1 Department of Ultrasonography, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, China
2 Department of Ultrasonography, Shaanxi Province Cancer Hospital, Xi'an 710061, China
3 Department of Urology, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, China

Correspondence: Dr. L Yang (docyanglin@126.com) or Dr. LT Ruan (ruanlitao@163.com)

Date of Submission 26-Apr-2021 Date of Acceptance 22-Dec-2021 Date of Web Publication 29-Mar-2022


We wanted to determine whether shear wave elastography (SWE) could be used to evaluate the aging degree of the corpus cavernosum (CC) and to identify the histological basis of changes in SWE measurements during the aging process. We performed a cross-sectional study enrolling healthy participants of different ages. We measured the Young's modulus (YM) of the penile CCs by SWE and assessed erectile function using the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5). Histological investigation was performed in surgically resected penile specimens from a separate group of patients to examine the smooth muscle and collagen content of the CCs. Furthermore, we measured the YM, erectile function, smooth muscle, and collagen content of the CCs in different age groups of rats. Finally, we enrolled 210 male volunteers in this study. The YM of the CC (CCYM) was positively correlated with age (r = 0.949, P < 0.01) and negatively correlated with erectile function (r = −0.843, P < 0.01). Histological examinations showed that CCs had increased collagen content but decreased smooth muscle content with increased age. The same positive correlation between CCYM and age was also observed in the animal study. In addition, the animal study showed that older rats, with increased CCYM and decreased erectile function, had lower smooth muscle content and higher collagen content. SWE can noninvasively and quantitatively evaluate the aging degree of the CC. Increased collagen content and decreased smooth muscle content might be the histological basis for the effect of aging on the CC and the increase in its YM.

Keywords: aging; collagen; corpus cavernosum; erectile dysfunction; shear wave elastography; smooth muscle

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