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Biol Reprod. 1988 Nov;39(4):913-22.

Characterization of cyclic nucleotide and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-sensitive calcium-exchange activity of smooth muscle cells cultured from the human corpora cavernosa.

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UCLA-SFVP Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Sepulveda 91343.


Smooth muscle-mediated expansion and contraction of the vascular sinusoids of the corpora cavernosa may modulate male erectile function. To elucidate the biochemical events that control erection by promoting or inhibiting contraction of cavernosal smooth muscle, tissue from a potent man was grown in cell culture. The cells grew as noncontractile cultures, but had the following smooth muscle cell properties: These cells expressed desmin, the muscle cell-specific intermediate filament protein. They accumulated 45Ca2+ from the medium, which was released by exposure to the ionophore A23187, to cyclic nucleotides (cyclic guanosine 5'-monophosphate [GMP] much greater than cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate [AMP]), and to the phosphodiesterase inhibitor, papaverine; and; they accumulated Ca2+ in an ATP-dependent manner when the cultured cells were permeabilized by digitonin extraction. ATP-dependent Ca2+ uptake was inhibited approximately 80% by ruthenium red and simulated by cyclic GMP much greater than cyclic AMP. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3), which is thought to mediate the release of Ca2+ by the smooth muscle cell sarcoplasmic reticulum in vivo, released approximately 0.85 pmol Ca2+/million cells from the digitonin-extracted cells. IP3-dependent release occurred in the presence of ruthenium red and was not affected by cyclic GMP or cyclic AMP. These results indicate that smooth muscle from this human source can be grown successfully in cell culture and that the biochemical pathways that regulate tension in vivo may be perpetuated in vitro. Moreover, some of the clinical responses to drugs administered in situ for erectile dysfunction (e.g. papaverine) may be the result of altered cavernosal smooth muscle cell Ca2+ exchange and may be mediated by cyclic GMP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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