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Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 May 31;586(1-3):300-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.02.054. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

The nonadrenergic noncholinergic-mediated relaxation of corpus cavernosum was impaired in chronic lithium-treated rats: improvement with l-arginine.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences/University of Tehran, P.O. Box: 13145-784, Tehran, Iran.


One-third of lithium-treated men complain from sexual dysfunction, although the exact mechanisms of which are not yet known. In this study we investigated the effect of chronic lithium (LiCl, 600 mg/l for 30 days) administration on the neurogenic relaxation of isolated rat corpus cavernosum. The corporal strips were precontracted with phenylephrine and electrical field stimulation (EFS) was applied to obtain relaxation. Relaxation to EFS was significantly (P<0.001) impaired in LiCl-treated rats. The nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor Nomega-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME; 100 microM) inhibited the relaxation to EFS in both LiCl-treated and control rats. The NO precursor l-arginine, at per se noneffective concentration (0.1 mM), significantly (P<0.001) enhanced the EFS-induced relaxation of LiCl-treated corporal strips. The relaxation responses to the NO donor sodium nitroprusside were similar between two groups. These data demonstrate that chronic lithium treatment could impair the NO-mediated neurogenic relaxation of rat corpus cavernosum which could be prevented by l-arginine.

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