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Long-term consequences of bilateral cavernous crush injury in normal and diabetic rats: a functional study

Abstract

A recent statement from the European-Society-for-Sexual-Medicine has highlighted the limitations of using the rat model for nerve-sparing prostatectomy. The use of young rats with no comorbidities and the early evaluation of the erectile function (EF) are deemed a source of bias. Our aim was to evaluate the long-term consequences in EF of bilateral nerve cavernous crush- injury (BNCI) in type 1 diabetic (DM) rats 30-male/12-week-old rats were divided into four groups: Sham, BNCI, DM, and BNCI + DM. Sham group underwent an intraperitoneal injection (IP) of saline solution and after 1 month underwent a sham laparotomy. BNCI underwent an IP of saline solution and after 1 month to BNCI. DM underwent an IP of 60 mg/kg-1-streptozotocin (STZ) and after 1 month to a sham laparotomy. BNCI + DM underwent an IP of 60 mg/kg-1-STZ and after 1 month to BNCI. After 5 months from the induction of diabetes, all rats underwent measurement of intracorporeal pressure (ICP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) during CN-electrostimulation. Multiple groups were compared using Kruskal–Wallis one-way analysis of variance followed by Mann–Whitney U test for post hoc comparisons. Blood glucose-level was higher (p < 0.05) in the groups with DM and BNCI + DM. After 5-months, DM and BNCI + DM also showed a lower weight compared to other groups (p < 0.05). No differences were noted in ICP/MAP between the sham and BNCI. BNCI + DM showed lower ICP/MAP compared to all the groups (p < 0.05). DM Showed lower ICP/MAP compared to Sham and BNCI (p < 0.05). BNCI in rats without comorbidities did not induce long-term erectile dysfunction (ED) suggesting a spontaneous EF recovery. BNCI in DM induced long-term ED. The results of previous short-term studies can only provide evidence on the time to recovery of spontaneous EF as to the actual EF recovery rate.

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Fig. 1: Time-line diagram illustrates the study design.
Fig. 2: Rat weight time-line chart. BNCI: bilateral cavernous crush injury, DM: type 1 diabetic.
Fig. 3: Glucose serum level time-line chart.
Fig. 4: Erectile function measurement: Summarized data comparing erectile function measurements at various voltages during cavernous nerve electrostimulation.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Arianna Bettiga, Giorgia Colciago, Rita Van Bree, Catherien Luyten, Goedlieve Verbist, and Petra Steven for their technical contributions to the experiments in this study. This study was fully funded by the European Society for Sexual Medicine (ESSM) grant for basic medical research 2014 and by the European Urological Scholarship Programme (EUSP) awarded to FC.

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Conceptualization: FC, MA. Experiment Execution: FC, SF, MA, PH. Formal analysis: OOC, HA, AM. Methodology: FC. Funding acquisition: SJ, FC. Writing–original draft: SF, FC, HA, AC. Writing–review & editing: AM, CP, MA, PH, YAU.

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Correspondence to Fabio Castiglione.

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FC, MD is supported by The Margaret Spittle Research Fellowship, University College London Hospital, London UK. AM is supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre UCLH. All authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Castiglione, F., Albersen, M., Fiorenzo, S. et al. Long-term consequences of bilateral cavernous crush injury in normal and diabetic rats: a functional study. Int J Impot Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-021-00474-z

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