• Ischemic Priapism;
  • In Vitro Animal Models;
  • In Vivo Animal Models


Introduction.  Priapism is an enigmatic yet devastating clinical phenomenon. In the last two decades, the use of various animal models to study this disorder has dramatically advanced our understanding of this mysterious disorder.

Aim.  This report reviews various animal models used to study ischemic priapism and informs basic science researchers the broad view of priapism research.

Methods.  Retrospective review of pertinent literature from the last two decades via PubMed search using the keywords “ischemic priapism” and “priapism model.”

Main Outcome Measures.  Findings on the animal models used in ischemic priapism research and its advantages and limitations.

Results.  In vitro and in vivo animal models varying from dogs, cats, rabbits, rats to mice were used in priapism research. In vitro models included: (i) corpora cavernosa smooth muscle (CCSM) strip in organ bath; (ii) corporal tissue binding assay; (iii) CCSM cell culture under hypoxia/anoxia. In vivo models could be categorized as: (i) pharmacologically induced by corpus cavernosum medicine injection; (ii) ventilation induced by tidal volume control; (iii) mechanical induced by a constrictor band placed around the base of the penis combined with induced erection; (iv) genetic engineered by intracorporal gene transfer, transgenic, or gene knock-out.

Conclusions.  The ischemic priapism animal models are shifting from pharmaceutically or mechanically induced to genetically engineered. The knowledge generated by those models is enhancing our understanding and management of this clinical challenge. Dong Q, Deng S, Wang R, and Yuan J. In vitro and in vivo animal models in priapism research. J Sex Med 2011;8:347–359.