Brain Defect Tied to Diabetes-Related Erectile Dysfunction

Study in rats may help lead to improved treatments, researchers say

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WEDNESDAY, March 21, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes-related erectile dysfunction is caused by a defect in the nitric oxide (NO) mechanism in a part of the brain called the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), a U.S. study finds.

The PVN, located in the hypothalamus, plays a role in many functions, including penis erection and sexual behavior.

Sexual dysfunction is a common problem in men with diabetes. This study offers new information about the association between diabetes and erectile dysfunction and may help improve treatments, said researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

After a series of experiments with rats, the researchers concluded that erectile dysfunction in diabetes is due to a defect in the NO mechanisms within the PVN. This defect is the loss in the synthetic enzyme for the production of NO within the neurons of the PVN. Restoring production of this synthetic enzyme may benefit diabetic patients with erectile dysfunction.

The findings are published in the March issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about sexual and urologic problems of diabetes.

SOURCE: American Physiological Society, news release, March 15, 2007

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