Previous in vitro studies have demonstrated that the cavernous relaxation under hypoxia does not involve the endothelium dependent mechanism. However, the mechanism of nitric oxide pathway under hypoxia are not fully evaluated or understood yet in vivo. The changes of intracavernous pressure to various vasoactive substances were monitored in 45 mature male cats in vivo under normoxia and hypoxia (pH:7.03, PO2:25.52 mmHg, PCO2: 84.66 mmHg). L-arginine and SNAP (s-nitroso-n-acetyl-penicillamine) produced cavernous relaxation under normoxia, but not under hypoxia (n = 19, P < 0.01). The L-arginine-induced relaxations were inhibited by L-NAME (Nω-nitro-1-arginine-methyl-ester) or methylene blue under normoxia (n = 19, P < 0.01). The cavernous relaxation was 58% suppressed under hypoxia compared to normoxia with 10-3 M/0.2 ml of acetylcholine (n = 22, P < 0.01). Moreover, L-NAME attenuated the acetylcholine-induced relaxation under normoxia, but not under hypoxia (n = 22, P < 0.05). Epinephrine suppressed the acetylcholine-induced relaxation in both conditions (n = 10, P < 0.01), while indomethacin significantly potentiated the acetylcholine-induced relaxation under normoxia compared to hypoxia (n = 6, P < 0.05). However, none of these substances responded in severe hypoxia (PO2 < 15 mmHg, n = 3). These results suggest that erectile and contractile responses are attenuated under hypoxia. The endothelium derived relaxation via nitric oxide does not play a role in cavernous relaxation under definitive hypoxia with acidosis like in ischemic priapism (PO2 < 30 mmHg, pH < 7.25).
- In vivo
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