In vivo and in vitro investigation of the effects of sildenafil on rat cavernous smooth muscle

J Urol. 2001 Mar;165(3):1010-4.


Purpose: We investigated the effect of sildenafil on rat erectile tissues in vivo and in vitro.

Materials and methods: Intracavernous pressure was recorded in pentobarbital anesthetized, male Sprague-Dawley rats and we studied the effect of 100 or 200 microg/kg(-1) sildenafil given intravenously. In an isolated endothelin-1 contracted strip preparation of rat corpus cavernosum we also assessed the effect of sildenafil on the response to electrical field stimulation of the nerves.

Results: Electrical stimulation of the cavernous nerve induced a frequency dependent increase in intracavernous pressure of a mean plus or minus standard error of mean 55 +/- 3 mm Hg at 20 Hz, corresponding to a mean of 47% +/- 2% of mean arterial pressure. The 100 microg/kg(-1) dose did not increase intracavernous pressure but significantly increased mean decay time of the pressure response from 16 +/- 3 to 35 +/- 3 seconds (p <0.001). In vitro sildenafil significantly enhanced the amplitude and duration of the relaxation induced by the electrical stimulation of corpus cavernosum strips in a concentration dependent fashion.

Conclusions: In anesthestized rats sildenafil significantly prolonged the decay period of the intracavernous pressure response induced by electrical stimulation of the cavernous nerve but it did not increase the amplitude. Sildenafil enhanced the amplitude and duration of the relaxant response to electrical field stimulation in isolated corpus cavernosum tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Endothelin-1 / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects*
  • Penis / drug effects*
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Purines
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones


  • Endothelin-1
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate