Purpose: We investigated the pathophysiology of structurally based corporeal veno-occlusive dysfunction.
Materials and methods: We prospectively evaluated 24 impotent patients (mean age plus or minus standard error 46 +/- 3 years) who had exposure to vascular risk factors and/or disorders inducing diffuse trabecular structure alterations and who underwent penile prosthesis insertion. Preoperative indexes of veno-occlusive function (flow to maintain, venous outflow resistance and pressure decay measurements using repeat dosing pharmacocavernosometry) were correlated with postoperative erectile tissue computer assisted color histomorphometry (percent trabecular smooth muscle to total erectile tissue area). To develop further study findings and correlate histomorphometric findings with molecular biological properties molecular biological studies (ribonuclease protection analysis, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay for expression of transforming growth factor-beta 1 messenger [m] ribonucleic acid [RNA] and protein affinity labeling techniques for specific transforming growth factor-beta receptors) were performed in representative patients with high (39 to 43%), intermediate (30 to 37%) and low (13 to 29%) trabecular smooth muscle content (normal 42 to 50%).
Results: Flow to maintain, venous outflow resistance and pressure decay values significantly correlated with trabecular smooth muscle cell content (r = -0.89, 0.82 and -0.85, respectively). In the high, intermediate and low smooth muscle content subgroups flow to maintain, venous outflow resistance and pressure decay values were 1 to 5, 9 to 30 and 50 to 120 ml. per minute, 17 to 84, 3 to 9 and 1 to 2 mm. Hg/ml. per minute, and 40 to 60, 48 to 80 and 110 to 120 mm. Hg decrease in 30 seconds from 150 mm. Hg, respectively. There were no significant differences in patient age or prevalence of risk factors among the 3 subgroups. Patients representative of all 3 subgroups had transforming growth factor-beta 1 mRNA, auto-induction of transforming growth factor-beta 1 mRNA and induction and/or increased availability of all 3 types of transforming growth factor-beta receptors.
Conclusions: The pathophysiology of structurally based corporeal veno-occlusive dysfunction is related to elevated corporeal connective tissue content. Based on our data and those in the literature corporeal fibrosis is hypothesized to develop secondary to abnormalities in the regulation of normal collagen synthesis and degradation, most likely associated with adverse influences of chronic ischemia.