A possible role for calcitonin-gene-related peptide in the regulation of the smooth muscle tone of the bladder and penis

J Urol. 1990 Feb;143(2):392-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)39972-x.


We investigated the effect of calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) on bladder contractions and penile erection in 12 dogs. In a system in which the arteries were tied bilaterally to ensure delivery of high drug levels to the bladder, arterial injections of CGRP significantly reduced the peak intravesical pressure of bladder contractions induced by pelvic nerve stimulation or arterial injection of carbachol. When given intravenously, CGRP had no effect on bladder contractions consequent to neural stimulation. Intravesical instillation of CGRP, however, reduced the bladder contractions significantly. Histologic staining showed CGRP-immunoreactive nerve fibers within the smooth muscle layers of the bladder wall. Intracavernous CGRP increased cavernous arterial flow and induced cavernous smooth muscle relaxation and venous outflow occlusion. Muscarinic blockade had no effect on the canine intracavernous pressure response to intracavernous injection of CGRP. Histologic staining for CGRP-immunoreactivity showed nerve-fiber-like staining within the cavernous arterial wall, the nerves running near the cavernous arteries, and the cavernous smooth muscles. Our results suggest a possible role for CGRP in the regulation of the smooth muscle tone of the bladder and penis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / physiology*
  • Dogs
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Penile Erection / physiology
  • Penis / physiology*
  • Urinary Bladder / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide