Correction of nitrergic neurovascular dysfunction in diabetic mouse corpus cavernosum by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibition

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Increased p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in response to stress stimuli, including hyperglycemia, contributes to diabetic somatic neuropathy. However, effects on autonomic nerve and vascular function have not been determined. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the p38 MAPK inhibitor, LY2161793, on penile neurovascular function in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Diabetes duration was 6 weeks and intervention LY2161793 treatment was given for the final 2 weeks. In vitro measurements on phenylephrine-precontracted corpus cavernosum revealed a 32% reduction in maximum nitrergic nerve-mediated relaxation with diabetes that was 74% corrected by LY2161793 treatment. Maximum nitric oxide-mediated endothelium-dependent relaxation to acetylcholine was 42% attenuated by diabetes and 88% restored by LY2161793. Moreover, treatment partially corrected a diabetic deficit in endothelium-independent relaxation to a nitric oxide donor. Thus, p38 MAPK inhibition corrects nitric oxide-dependent indices of diabetic erectile autonomic neuropathy and vasculopathy, a therapeutic approach potentially worthy of consideration for clinical trials.

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