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Inside-out autologous vein grafts fail to restore erectile function in a rat model of cavernous nerve crush injury after nerve-sparing prostatectomy


Some autologous tissues can restore erectile function (EF) in rats after a resection of the cavernous nerve (CN). However, a cavernous nerve crush injury (CNCI) better reproduces ED occurring after a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy (RP). The aim was to evaluate the effect on EF of an autologous vein graft after CNCI, compared with an artificial conduit. Five groups of rats were studied: those with CN exposure, exposure+vein, crush, crush+guide and crush+vein. Four weeks after surgery, the EF of rats was assessed by electrical stimulation of the CNs. The intracavernous pressure (ICP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were monitored during stimulations at various frequencies. The main outcome, that is, the rigidity of the erections, was defined as the ICP/MAP ratio. At 10 Hz, the ICP/MAP ratios were 41.8%, 34.7%, 20.9%, 33.9% and 20.5%, respectively. The EF was significantly lower in rats if the CNCI was treated with a vein graft instead of an artificial guide. Contrary to cases of CN resection, autologous vein grafts did not improve EF after CNCI. In terms of clinical use, the study suggests to limit an eventual use of autologous vein grafts to non-nerve-sparing RPs.

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Bessede, T., Moszkowicz, D., Alsaid, B. et al. Inside-out autologous vein grafts fail to restore erectile function in a rat model of cavernous nerve crush injury after nerve-sparing prostatectomy. Int J Impot Res 27, 59–62 (2015).

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