Taurine Improves Sexual Function in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017:975 Pt 1:307-318. doi: 10.1007/978-94-024-1079-2_27.


Previous studies have identified that diabetic erectile dysfunction is associated with androgen and nitric oxide deficiency resulting from hyperglycemia. It has been demonstrated that taurine can stimulate testosterone secretion, increase nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and nitric oxide (NO) production, and reduce blood glucose levels in the diabetic animals. Furthermore, recent studies have found that taurine relaxes both the corpus cavernosum and the vasculature. Accordingly, we hypothesized that taurine might exert beneficial effects on erectile function of the diabetic rats. Here, we assessed the effects of taurine on sexual function in streptozotocin (STZ) -induced diabetic male rats. We observed that taurine treatment could markedly increase sexual response and mating ability of STZ-diabetic rats. The serum concentration of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone (T) were also significantly increased by taurine administration. Importantly, taurine supplementation notably increased mRNA levels and activity of endothelial NOS (eNOS) and neuronal NOS (nNOS), as well as NO and cGMP content, in the corpus cavernosum of the diabetic rats. In conclusion, the present data indicate that taurine can increase sexual function of STZ-induced diabetic male rats mainly by correcting the diabetes, increasing sexual desire, which is implicated in ameliorating the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis function, and by improving penile erection, which requires increased signaling from the penile endothelial- and neuronal-dependent NO-cGMP pathway.

Keywords: Diabetic rats; Hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis; Male sexual function; NO-cGMP signaling; Taurine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / prevention & control
  • Taurine / pharmacology*


  • Taurine