Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 452-459

Losartan improves erectile function through suppression of corporal apoptosis and oxidative stress in rats with cavernous nerve injury

Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China

Correspondence Address:
Ning-Hong Song
Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aja.aja_8_19

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This study aimed to investigate the functional and morphological changes in the corpus cavernosum after cavernous nerve (CN) injury or neurectomy and then reveal whether treatment with the angiotensin II Type 1 receptor antagonist losartan would improve erectile function as well as its potential mechanisms. A total of 48 10-week-old Sprague–Dawley male rats, weighing 300–350 g, were randomly divided into the following four groups (n = 12 per group): sham operation (Sham) group, bilateral cavernous nerve injury (BCNI) group, losartan-treated BCNI (BCNI + Losartan) group, and bilateral cavernous neurectomy (Neurectomy) group. Losartan was administered once daily by oral gavage at a dose of 30 mg kg−1 day−1 for 4 weeks starting on the day of surgery. The BCNI and the Neurectomy groups exhibited decreases in erectile response and increases in apoptosis and oxidative stress, compared with the Sham group. Treatment with losartan could have a modest effect on erectile function and significantly prevent corporal apoptosis and oxidative stress. The phospho-B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2)-associated death promoter (p-Bad)/Bad and phospho-the protein kinase B (p-AKT)/AKT ratios were substantially lower, while the Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax)/Bcl-2 ratio, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap-1), transforming growth factor-β 1 (TGF-β 1) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) levels, and caspase-3 activity were higher in the BCNI and Neurectomy groups than in the Sham group. After 4 weeks of daily administration with losartan, these expression levels were remarkably attenuated compared with the BCNI group. Taken together, our results suggested that early administration of losartan after CN injury could slightly improve erectile function and significantly reduce corporal apoptosis and oxidative stress by inhibiting the Akt/Bad/Bax/caspase-3 and Nrf2/Keap-1 pathways.

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