Therapeutic potential of Mucuna pruriens (Linn.) on ageing induced damage in dorsal nerve of the penis and its implication on erectile function: an experimental study using albino rats

Aging Male. 2020 Dec;23(5):313-326. doi: 10.1080/13685538.2018.1439005. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


Objective: To study the effect of ethanolic seed extract of Mucuna pruriens on damaged dorsal nerve of the penis (DNP) in aged rat in relation to penile erection.

Methods: The rats were divided into four groups Young (3 months), Aged (24 - 28 months), Aged + M. pruriens, and Young + M. pruriens (200 mg/kg b.w/60 days) and were subjected to the hypophysial - gonadal axis, nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and penile reflex. DNP sections were stained with nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NaDPH) diaphorase, androgen receptor (AR), and osmium tetroxide. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) dUTP Nick-End Labeling (TUNEL) staining, electron microscopy(EM) and histometric analyses were done.

Results: Significant disturbance in hypophysial - gonadal axis was noted in aged rat. With reduced number of myelinated fibers, diameter, vacuolization, indentation of the myelin sheath, and degeneration. nNOS and its cofactor (NaDPH diaphorase) were reduced in aged rat DNP. NCV was slow in aged rats and concomitant poor penile reflex was also noted. AR showed reduced expression in aged rat DNP when compared to young and control groups. TUNEL positive cells were increased in aged rat DNP. These pathological changes were remarkably reduced or recovered in M. pruriens treated aged rats.

Conclusions: The results indicate a multi-factorial therapeutic activity in penile innervations towards sustaining the penile erection in the presence of the extract in aged rats and justifying the claim of traditional usage.

Keywords: Dorsal nerve of the penis; Mucuna pruriens; Schwann cell; ageing; erectile dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Erectile Dysfunction*
  • Humans
  • Mucuna*
  • Penile Erection
  • Penis
  • Rats