Seminal vesicles and diabetic neuropathy: ultrasound evaluation after prolonged treatment with a selective phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor



Sandro La Vignera, Section of Endocrinology, Andrology and Internal Medicine, Department of Medical and Pediatric Sciences, University of Catania, Policlinico ‘G. Rodolico’, Via S. Sofia 78, Building 4, Room 2C19, Catania 95123, Italy.


We have previously reported that infertile patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) have a particular ultrasound features of the seminal vesicles (SV) characterized by higher fundus-to-body ratio and lower pre- and post-ejaculatory difference in body antero-posterior diameter (APD). Based on these premises the aim of the present study was to investigate possible ultrasound SV changes in infertile patients with DM and diabetic neuropathy (DN), after prolonged administration of tadalafil (TAD) (a specific phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor). To accomplish this, 20 infertile patients with symptomatic DN and erectile dysfunction were selected and arbitrarily divided into two groups which were assigned to: daily administration of 5 mg TAD for 3 months (Group A) (n = 10) and administration of placebo (Group B) (n = 10). All patients underwent to scrotal and prostate-vesicular transrectal ultrasound evaluation and semen analysis (Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen, WHO, 2010) before and after treatment. The following SV US parameters were recorded: (i) body APD; (ii) fundus APD; (iii) parietal thickness of the right and left SVs; and (iv) number of polycyclic areas within both SVs. We then calculated the following parameters: (i) fundus/body (F/B) ratio; (ii) difference of the parietal thickness between the right and the left SV and (iii) pre- and post-ejaculatory APD difference. In addition, we also evaluated the SV ejection fraction. Group A patients showed a significant reduction in F/B ratio and higher pre- and post-ejaculatory body SV APD difference compared with baseline or Group B after 3 months. These patients showed also a significant increase in SV ejection fraction and a significant improvement of the total sperm count, progressive motility, seminal levels of fructose, leucocytes and ejaculate volume. In conclusion, these results suggest that infertile DM patients with DN and erectile dysfunction had an improvement of ultrasound features suggestive of diabetic neuropathy after daily treatment with low doses of TAD.