Therapeutic effect of adipose-derived stem cells and BDNF-immobilized PLGA membrane in a rat model of cavernous nerve injury

J Sex Med. 2012 Aug;9(8):1968-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02760.x. Epub 2012 May 29.


Introduction: Cavernous nerve injury is the main reason for post-prostatectomy erectile dysfunction (ED). Stem cell and neuroprotection therapy are promising therapeutic strategy for ED.

Aim: To evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) immobilized Poly-Lactic-Co-Glycolic (PLGA) membrane on the cavernous nerve in a rat model of post-prostatectomy ED. Methods. Rats were randomly divided into five groups: normal group, bilateral cavernous nerve crush injury (BCNI) group, ADSC (BCNI group with ADSCs on cavernous nerve) group, BDNF-membrane (BCNI group with BDNF/PLGA membrane on cavernous nerve) group, and ADSC/BDNF-membrane (BCNI group with ADSCs covered with BDNF/PLGA membrane on cavernous nerve) group. BDNF was controlled-released for a period of 4 weeks in a BDNF/PLGA porous membrane system.

Main outcome measures: Four weeks after the operation, erectile function was assessed by detecting the ratio of intra-cavernous pressure (ICP)/mean arterial pressure (MAP). Smooth muscle and collagen content were determined by Masson's trichrome staining. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) expression in the dorsal penile nerve was detected by immunostaining. Phospho-endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein expression and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) level of the corpus cavernosum were quantified by Western blotting and cGMP assay, respectively.

Results: In the ADSC/BDNF-membrane group, erectile function was significantly elevated, compared with the BCNI and other treated groups. ADSC/BDNF-membrane treatment significantly increased smooth muscle/collagen ratio, nNOS content, phospho-eNOS protein expression, and cGMP level, compared with the BCNI and other treated groups.

Conclusions: ADSCs with BDNF-membrane on the cavernous nerve can improve erectile function in a rat model of post-prostatectomy ED, which may be used as a novel therapy for post-prostatectomy ED.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / transplantation*
  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / administration & dosage*
  • Cyclic GMP / pharmacology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Erectile Dysfunction / surgery
  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immobilized Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Lactic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry
  • Male
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Nerve Crush / methods
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / biosynthesis
  • Penis / innervation
  • Penis / surgery
  • Polyglycolic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Polyglycolic Acid / chemistry
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects
  • Pudendal Nerve / enzymology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Immobilized Proteins
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Cyclic GMP