Effects of papaverine and vasointestinal polypeptide on penile and vascular cAMP and cGMP in control and diabetic animals: an in vitro study

Int J Impot Res. 1995 Jun;7(2):91-100.


Adenosine 3'5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) and guanosine 3'5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) mediate penile erection. We have previously established that adenylate and guanylate cyclase activity is elevated in the diabetic rat penis and aorta. This study investigates the action of papaverine and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) on these cyclases. The aortae and penes of Sprague Dawley rats (n = 7) were stimulated with VIP and papaverine. Diabetes mellitus (DM) was induced in Sprague Dawley rats (n = 7) with streptozotocin and the penile and aortic tissues were treated with VIP. The penes, aortae and carotid arteries of New Zealand White rabbits were similarly processed. cAMP and cGMP generation was measured by radioimmunoassay. In all tissues: VIP stimulated cAMP synthesis; VIP did not increase cGMP levels; papaverine was without effect on either cAMP or cGMP synthesis. VIP-stimulated cAMP was significantly enhanced in the diabetic rat penis and aorta; there was also a significant elevation in the basal levels of cGMP in these tissues. These data: (1) consolidate that cAMP is a mediator of penile erection, (2) indicate that papaverine and VIP elicit erection by different mechanisms, (3) suggest that an enhanced penile capacity to generate cAMP in DM may constitute an adaptive response to counteract the previously reported reduction in VIP content and VIP receptors, and (4) indicate that the penile and vascular tissues of the rabbit respond in a similar manner to VIP and papaverine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • Aorta / metabolism
  • Arteries / drug effects
  • Arteries / metabolism*
  • Carotid Arteries / drug effects
  • Carotid Arteries / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Male
  • Papaverine / pharmacology*
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Penile Erection / physiology
  • Penis / drug effects
  • Penis / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / pharmacology*


  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Papaverine
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic GMP