Effect of hypothyroidism on the nitrergic relaxant responses of corpus cavernosal smooth muscle in rabbits
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Background: The incidence of hormonal dysfunction as a cause of impotence remains controversial. However, several recent studies have reported evidence of hormonal abnormalities in 25-35% of impotent men. Hypothyroidism has been reported to occur in 6% of impotent men. Methods: In the present study, we examined nitrergic responses in hypothyroidism in rabbit corpus cavernosum and compared them with controls. Results: Carbachol-induced relaxation responses and electrical field stimulation (EFS)-induced frequency-dependent relaxations decreased significantly in hypothyroid rabbits. Papaverine and sodium nitroprusside (SNP)-induced relaxation responses did not change significantly in hypothyroid rabbits. The contraction responses of phenylephrine and EFS-induced frequency-dependent contractions were significantly decreased in the hypothyroid group. Conclusions: We can speculate that the reduction of relaxant responses to EFS and carbachol in hypothyroid rabbits can depend on a decreased release of nitric oxide (NO) from nitrergic nerves and endothelium or a reduction of muscarinic receptor density. Also, decreases in contraction responses may depend on diminished adrenoceptor density.