Urologia internationalis

Calpain Inhibition Improves Erectile Function in a Rat Model of Cavernous Nerve Injury.

PMID 25661999


Erectile dysfunction (ED) after cavernous nerve (CN) injury remains difficult to treat. Calpain plays a critical role in causing neurodegenerative diseases. This study aimed to evaluate whether calpain inhibition preserves erectile function in a rat model of CN injury. Rats underwent sham surgery or CN crush injury. The CN-crushed rats were treated with vehicle or MDL-28170, a specific calpain inhibitor. At 1, 2, 3, and 7 days post-surgery, major pelvic ganglia (MPG) were harvested, followed by the measurement of erectile function, respectively. At 28 days, penile tissue and distal CN were harvested, followed by the measurement of erectile function in rats. Calpain activity in MPG and corpus cavernosum, as well as TGF-β1/Smad2 and collagen content in corpus cavernosum, were measured by western blot. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) was observed by immunohistochemistry. Increased calpain activity was observed in MPG and corpus cavernosum. CN crush markedly attenuated the erectile responses and nNOS expression in CN, and these were improved by MDL-28170 treatment. Furthermore, treatment prevented increased TGF-β1/Smad2 and collagen expression in corpus cavernosum. Our results suggested that calpain activation plays a role in pathogenesis of CN injury-associated ED. Calpain inhibition could be a novel approach for preventing the development of ED following CN injury.