The effects of adipose-derived stem cells in a rat model of tobacco-associated erectile dysfunction

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Abstract

Tobacco use is associated with erectile dysfunction (ED) via a number of mechanisms including vascular injury and oxidative stress in corporal tissue. Adipose derived stem cells (ADSC) have been shown to ameliorate vascular/corporal injury and oxidative stress by releasing cytokines, growth factors and antioxidants. We assessed the therapeutic effects of intracavernous injection of ADSC in a rat model of tobacco-associated ED. Thirty male rats were used in this study. Ten rats exposed to room air only served as negative controls. The remaining 20 rats were passively exposed to cigarette smoke (CS) for 12 weeks. At the 12-week time point, ADSC were isolated from paragonadal fat in all rats. Amongst the 20 CS exposed rats, 10 each were assigned to one of the two following conditions: (i) injection of phosphate buffered saline (PBS) into the corpora cavernosa (CS+PBS); or (ii) injection of autologous ADSC in PBS into the corpora cavernosa (CS+ADSC). Negative control animals received PBS injection into the corpora cavernosa (normal rats [NR] + PBS). After injections all rats were returned to their previous air versus CS exposure state. Twenty-eight days after injection, all rats were placed in a metabolic cage for 24-hour urine collection to be testing for markers of oxidative stress. After 24-hour urine collection all 30 rats also underwent erectile function testing via intracavernous pressure (ICP) testing and were then sacrificed. Corporal tissues were obtained for histological assessment and Western blotting. Mean body weight was significantly lower in CS-exposed rats than in control animals. Mean ICP, ICP /mean arterial pressure ratio, serum nitric oxide level were significantly lower in the CS+PBS group compared to the NR+PBS and CS+ADSC groups. Urine markers for oxidative stress were significantly higher in the CS+PBS group compared to the NR +PBS and CS+ADSC groups. Mean expression of corporal nNOS and histological markers for endothelial and smooth muscle cells was significantly lower, and tissue apoptotic index significantly higher, in the CS+PBS group compared to the NR+PBS and CS+ADSC groups. Our findings confirm that chronic tobacco exposure causes ultrastructural damage to the corporal tissue and increases systemic oxidative stress states. Treatment with ADSC ameliorates these adverse effects and holds promise as a potential therapy for tobacco-related ED.

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Huang, Y. C., Kuo, Y. H., Huang, Y. H., Chen, C. S., Ho, D. R., & Shi, C. S. (2016). The effects of adipose-derived stem cells in a rat model of tobacco-associated erectile dysfunction. PLoS ONE, 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156725

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