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J Androl. 2008 Mar-Apr;29(2):164-71. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

Changes in the smooth muscle of the corpora cavernosum related to reversal of partial bladder outlet obstruction in rabbits.

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  • 1Albany College of Pharmacy, 106 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


Previous studies have demonstrated that partial bladder outlet obstruction (PBOO) in the rabbit induces an increase in corpus cavernosum smooth muscle (CCSM) tone, which may make it difficult for the CCSM to relax. Thus, to determine whether the corpus cavernosum restores relaxation after reversal of PBOO, we investigated the physiologic, histologic, and cell biology in penises obtained from rabbits 4 weeks and 8 weeks after reversal of PBOO. CCSM from bladder outlet-obstructed and obstruction-reversed rabbits showed significant decreases in the contractile responses to phenylephrine. The relaxation responses to electrical field stimulation (EFS), ATP, acetylcholine, and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) were decreased in obstructed and reversed for 4 weeks groups. By 8 weeks of reversal, the relaxation of CCSM was increased gradually in response to EFS, SNP, and acetylcholine. However, the response to ATP did not result in the relaxation of CCSM to control levels. The ratio of SM to collagen decreased after obstruction and remained low after reversal. Expression of both isoforms of Rho kinase (ROK) was increased in obstruction groups. At 4 weeks of reversal, the expression of ROK alpha remained at obstruction level, whereas ROK beta expression decreased in comparison with the obstruction group. By 8 weeks of reversal, expression of both ROK alpha and beta significantly decreased when compared with the obstruction group. These results suggested that the poor relaxation response at reversal of 4 weeks was associated with incomplete decreased expression of both isoforms of ROK, whereas the incomplete recovery of the CCSM relaxation response at reversal of 8 weeks may be associated with structural alterations in the CC and irreversible damage from PBOO.

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