Effects of streptozotocin-induced diabetes on bladder and erectile (dys)function in the same rat in vivo

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To establish the methods, feasibility and utility of evaluating the impact of diabetes on bladder and erectile function in the same rat, as more than half of diabetic patients have bladder dysfunction, and half of diabetic men have erectile dysfunction, but the severity of coincident disease has not been rigorously assessed.


In all, 16 F-344 rats had diabetes induced by streptozotocin (STZ), and were divided into insulin-treated (five) and untreated (11), and compared with age-matched controls (10), all assessed in parallel. All STZ rats were diabetic for 8–11 weeks. Cystometric studies were conducted on all rats, with cavernosometric studies conducted on a subset of rats.


There were insulin-reversible increases in the following cystometric variables; bladder weight, bladder capacity, micturition volume, residual volume, micturition pressure and spontaneous activity (P < 0.05, in all, one-way analysis of variance, ANOVA). Cavernosometry showed a diabetes-related, insulin-reversible decline in the cavernosal nerve-stimulated intracavernosal pressure (ICP) response at all levels of current stimulation (P < 0.05, in all one-way ANOVA). Plotting erectile capacity (i.e. ICP) against bladder capacity showed no correlation between the extent of the decline in erectile capacity and the magnitude of the increase in bladder capacity.


These studies extend previous work to indicate that the extent of diabetes-related bladder and erectile dysfunction can vary in the same rat. As such, these findings highlight the importance of evaluating the impact of diabetes on multiple organ systems in the lower urinary tract. Future studies using this model system should lead to a better understanding of the initiation, development, progression and coincidence of these common diabetic complications.

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