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To develop a rat model of erectile dysfunction (ED) after cavernous nerve injury.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Given the great similarity between the anatomical structure of the cavernous nerve in rats and humans, 24 rats underwent dissections and the cavernous nerves were identified with the aid of an operating microscope. Then the rats were randomized into two groups: sham-operated controls and a bilateral cavernous nerve section group. At 3 months after surgery, the rats were evaluated for their response to an apomorphine challenge.
The erectile response after an apomorphine challenge was normal in all the control rats, while there were no erections in the bilateral injured group.
The rat major autonomic ganglion and its cavernous nerve can be identified with the aid of a microscope. Rats are inexpensive and easy to handle, thus a good animal for developing an ED model of cavernous nerve injury. In the present study, the rats with cavernous nerve injury lost erectile capacity in a reliable and reproducible fashion. Because of the great similarity between the cavernous nerve of rats and humans, one may consider this technique as a reliable experimental model for studying ED after radical prostatectomy.