Introduction. Nitric oxide (NO) has been shown to mediate electrical field stimulation (EFS)-caused smooth muscle relaxation. It is known that the neural control of penile erection involves adrenergic, cholinergic, and non-adrenergic-non-cholinergic (NANC) neuro-effector systems; however, the effects of EFS on adrenergic and cholinergic nerves are not clear.
Aims. To elucidate EFS-induced signal transductions involved in adrenergic, cholinergic, and NANC neuro-effector systems by using an in vitro penile perfusion model.
Methods. EFS was performed on penile corpus cavernosum smooth muscle from male New Zealand White rabbits, which was pre-contracted with L-phenylephrine (10 µM). We investigated the penile tracing elicited by EFS on tissues pre-incubated with guanethidine (Guan, 50 µM), tetrodotoxin (TTX, 10 µM), Nω nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME, 1 mM), atropine (50 µM), or eserine (10 µM).
Main Outcome Measures. The time-to-peak of each phase, the percentage of relaxation, and the area under the curve (AUC).
Results. We discovered an extraordinary phenomenon: three distinct phases elicited by EFS. Phase I was abolished by L-NAME. Phase II was decreased by eserine and Guan, but increased by L-NAME. Phase III was abolished by atropine, but enhanced by eserine and Guan. TTX diminished all three phases. The time to reach the top of phase I was delayed by TTX. The time to attain the peak of phase II was shortened by L-NAME, but delayed by TTX and atropine. The time to reach the top of phase III was shortened by L-NAME, eserine, and Guan. AUC was significantly decreased by L-NAME and TTX.
Conclusions. EFS stimulated adrenergic, cholinergic, and NANC neuro-effector systems simultaneously. Phase I was related to the NO pathway. Phase II was multiply affected by self-recovery properties, and adrenergic and cholinergic nerves. Phase III was related to cholinergic nerves. The corporal tracing elicited by EFS was the balanced result of multiple factors. Zhao C, Cho KW, and Park JK. Three phases of corporal tracing elicited by electrical field stimulation on rabbit corpus cavernosum smooth muscle in penile perfusion model. J Sex Med 2011;8:1039–1047.