• Corpus cavernosum;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • adenosine;
  • prostaglandin E1


To investigate the changes in corporal reactivity to adenosine and prostaglandin E1 (PGE1 ) in corpus cavernosal strips from alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits and to determine the effects of insulin therapy.

Materials and methods

Twenty-four New Zealand white rabbits were studied in three equal groups: group 1, control; group 2, diabetes induced by the administration of alloxan hydrochloride intravenously; group 3, as group 2 but with insulin administered after the induction of diabetes. At the end of 8 weeks, the reactivity of corpus cavernosal strips from the animals was assessed in organ chambers.


The relaxation responses of corpus cavernosal strips to adenosine were similar in all groups, but the response to PGE1 was impaired in groups 2 and 3 compared with that in controls.


If vasoactive drugs are to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of diabetic erectile impotence, direct-acting vasodilators, e.g. adenosine, must be used. In alloxan-induced diabetes, the corporal reactivity to PGE1 was impaired and insulin therapy did not restore the relaxation responses.