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The effects of single versus combined therapy using LIM-kinase 2 inhibitor and type 5 phosphodiesterase inhibitor on erectile function in a rat model of cavernous nerve injury-induced erectile dysfunction


1 Department of Urology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul 07061, Korea
2 Department of Urology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 03080, Korea
3 Department of Biostatistics, Seoul National University College of Medicine, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul 07061, Korea

Correspondence Address:
Soo Woong Kim,
Department of Urology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 03080
Korea
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aja.aja_114_18

PMID: 30829289

We aimed to determine whether combination of LIM-kinase 2 inhibitor (LIMK2i) and phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitor (PDE5i) could restore erectile function through suppressing cavernous fibrosis and improving cavernous apoptosis in a rat model of cavernous nerve crush injury (CNCI). Seventy 12-week-old Sprague–Dawley rats were equally distributed into five groups as follows: (1) sham surgery (Group S), (2) CNCI (Group I), (3) CNCI treated with daily intraperitoneal administration of 10.0 mg kg−1 LIMK2i (Group I + L), (4) daily oral administration of 20.0 mg kg−1 udenafil, PDE5i (Group I + U), and (5) combined administration of 10.0 mg kg−1 LIMK2i and 20.0 mg kg−1 udenafil (Group I + L + U). Rats in Groups I + L, I + U, and I + L + U were treated with respective regimens for 2 weeks after CNCI. At 2 weeks after surgery, erectile response was assessed using electrostimulation. Penile tissues were processed for histological studies and western blot. Group I showed lower intracavernous pressure (ICP)/mean arterial pressure (MAP), lower area under the curve (AUC)/MAP, decreased immunohistochemical staining for alpha-smooth muscle (SM) actin, higher apoptotic index, lower SM/collagen ratio, increased phospho-LIMK2-positive fibroblasts, decreased protein kinase B/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (Akt/eNOS) phosphorylation, increased LIMK2/cofilin phosphorylation, and increased protein expression of fibronectin, compared to Group S. In all three treatment groups, erectile responses, protein expression of fibronectin, and SM/collagen ratio were improved. Group I + L + U showed greater improvement in erectile response than Group I + L. SM content and apoptotic index in Groups I + U and I + L + U were improved compared to those in Group I. However, Group I + L did not show a significant improvement in SM content or apoptotic index. The number of phospho-LIMK2-positive fibroblasts was normalized in Groups I + L and I + L + U, but not in Group I + U. Akt/eNOS phosphorylation was improved in Groups I + U and I + L + U, but not in Group I + L. LIMK2/cofilin phosphorylation was improved in Groups I + L and I + L + U, but not in Group I + U. Our data indicate that combined treatment of LIMK2i and PDE5i immediate after CN injury could improve erectile function by improving cavernous apoptosis or eNOS phosphorylation and suppressing cavernous fibrosis. Rectification of Akt/eNOS and LIMK2/cofilin pathways appears to be involved in their improvement.


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