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Br J Pharmacol. 1998 Jun;124(4):788-94.

Neurogenic contraction and relaxation of human penile deep dorsal vein.

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Department of Physiology, University of Valencia, Spain.


1. The aim of the present study was to characterize neurogenic and pharmacological responses of human penile deep dorsal vein and to determine whether the responses are mediated by nitric oxide from neural or endothelial origin. 2. Ring segments of human penile deep dorsal vein were obtained from 22 multiorgan donors during procurement of organs for transplantation. The rings were suspended in organ bath chambers for isometric recording of tension. We then studied the contractile and relaxant responses to electrical field stimulation and to vasoactive agents. 3. Electrical field stimulation (0.5-2 Hz) and noradrenaline (3 x 10(-10)-3 x 10(-5) M) caused frequency- and concentration-dependent contractions that were of greater magnitude in veins denuded of endothelium. The inhibitor of nitric oxide synthesis NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME, l0(-4) M) increased the adrenergic responses only in rings with endothelium. 4. In preparations contracted with noradrenaline in the presence of guanethidine (10(-6) M) and atropine (10(-6) M), electrical stimulation induced frequency-dependent relaxations. This neurogenic relaxation was prevented by L-NAME, methylene blue (3 x 10(-5) M) and tetrodotoxin (10(-6) M), but was unaffected by removal of endothelium. 5. Acetylcholine (10(-8)-3 x 10(-5) M) and substance P (3 x 10(-11) -3 x 10(-7) M) induced endothelium-dependent relaxations. In contrast, sodium nitroprusside (10(-9)-3 x 10(-5) M) and papaverine (10(-8) 3 x 10(-5) M) caused endothelium-independent relaxations. 6. The results provide functional evidence that the human penile deep dorsal vein is an active component of the penile vascular resistance through the release of nitric oxide from both neural and endothelial origin. Dysfunction in any of these sources of nitric oxide should be considered in some forms of impotence.

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