Effects of nucleotides adenosine monophosphate and adenosine triphosphate in combination with L-arginine on male rabbit corpus cavernosum tissue

Int J Androl. 2012 Dec;35(6):860-866. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2012.01290.x. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


Purines and more specifically adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) have a strong relaxant effect on smooth muscle cells of the dog, rabbit and human corpus cavernosum, to approximately the same degree as nitric oxide (NO). However, purines are considered as modulators of erectile function rather than key mediators. This suggests that the use of purines combined with NO donors could be effective to treat some specific erectile disorders. The relaxation induced by the combination of l-arginine (Arg), a natural substrate for NO synthase, was assessed with a purine-nucleotide (AMP, ATP) on a rabbit corpus cavernosum model, to determine if these substances could potentiate each other's effect. When a pre-contraction was induced by phenylephrine, AMP alone induced a 43% CC relaxation rate and ATP alone a 26% rate. The relaxation rate induced by Arg was lower in comparison (8% at 5.10(-4) m vs. 25% at AMP 5.10(-4) m and 15% at ATP 5.10(-4) m). NO synthase inhibitor n-nitro-l-arginine did not modify the relaxing effect provoked by AMP suggesting that the mechanism of action of this nucleotide does not involve the NO pathway. The combination of Arg at 5.10(-4) m with either AMP or ATP at different doses ranging from 5.10(-4) to 10(-3) m significantly enhanced the relaxing response reaching rates of 62 and 80% respectively, leading to a synergistic effect. The present data indicate that a 'NO donor' combined with an 'adenosine donor' could be an effective therapeutic approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / pharmacology*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Muscle Relaxation / drug effects
  • Penis / drug effects*
  • Penis / physiology
  • Rabbits


  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Arginine