Antioxidant treatment with quercetin ameliorates erectile dysfunction in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

J Biosci Bioeng. 2011 Sep;112(3):215-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2011.05.013. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Oxidative stress is demonstrated to be involved in the pathophysiological mechanism of erectile dysfunction (ED). Quercetin, a potent bioflavonoid, has been reported to have the antioxidant role. In the present study, we examined the effect of quercetin on ED and oxidative stress in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats with a single intravenous injection of STZ. The diabetic rats were then randomized to diabetic group and quercetin therapy groups which were treated with quercetin at different doses of 5, 20 and 50mg/kg per day respectively. At the end of the 8th week, erectile function was assessed by measuring the rise in intracavernous pressure (ICP) following cavernous nerve electrostimulation. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, thiobarbituric acid-reacting substance (TBARS) and nitrite and nitrate (NOx) levels were measured in cavernosum tissue. Endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) expression was determined using Western blot method. ICP in diabetic rats was significantly decreased than that in controls. After treatment with quercetin at the doses of 20 and 50mg/kg, ICP was significantly increased compared to that in untreated diabetic rats. Decreased levels of SOD activity, NOx and eNOS expression, as well as elevated levels of TBARS were found in diabetic group compared with control group. Treatment with 20 and 50mg/kg quercetin improved SOD activity, NOx and TBARS levels in corpus cavernosum of diabetic rats. Decreased expression of eNOS in diabetic rats was only ameliorated by 50mg/kg quercetin treatment. Quercetin could ameliorate ED in diabetic rats by inhibiting oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Complications / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Penis / drug effects
  • Penis / innervation
  • Penis / metabolism
  • Quercetin / metabolism
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Streptozocin


  • Antioxidants
  • Streptozocin
  • Quercetin
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III