Objectives: To characterize the effects of experimental hypertriglyceridemia on erectile function.
Methods: The daily water intake of 40 sexually mature male rats (groups II to V) was supplemented for 12 weeks with 10% fructose solution to induce hypertriglyceridemia. In addition, animals from three groups (III, IV, and V) were given through daily oral gavage metformin (group III), fenofibrate (group IV), and fish oil (group V) to estimate their therapeutic effects on fructose-induced metabolic alterations. Another group (I) of 10 rats served as controls. At 12 weeks, changes in sexual behavior and cavernous pressure response to nerve stimulation were correlated with serum triglyceride levels and response to preventive measures.
Results: After administration of 10% fructose, triglyceride levels increased fourfold to 1.79 +/- 0.31 mmol/L (mean +/- standard deviation) (group II). Coinciding with this elevation was a significant impairment of the copulatory pattern, with prolongation of mount (3.70 +/- 3.44 minutes), intromission (7.09 +/- 4.49 minutes), and ejaculatory latencies and reduced intracavernous pressure (27.56 +/- 2.04 mm Hg) response to nerve electrical stimulation. Whereas similar significant impairment was seen in group III, the other two groups (IV and V) showed beneficial effects of triglyceride reduction on these parameters.
Conclusions: Our results provide the first evidence for an impact of triglycerides on erectile function. This detrimental effect is likely to be due to functional vascular and neuronal deficits related to hypertriglyceridemia.