The neuroanatomy of the rat, as well as the morphology of the rat corpus cavernosum, is well characterized. Several molecular biological methods, as well as in vitro preparations, are available for the corpus cavernosum (CC) from rats or mice, and functional investigations of the erectile tissues from these species have revealed similar responses to activation of nerves, endothelium, or pharmacological agents compared with other mammals. By recording intracavernous pressure (ICP), erectile responses to stimulation of nerves at peripheral sites can be evaluated objectively in anesthetized animals. It is thereby possible to isolate and study the effects of regulatory mechanisms of the autonomic nervous system on erection, and to quantify the effect of pharmacological modulation on nerve-induced responses as changes in ICP. In the conscious rodent model, erectile responses include activities in supraspinal and spinal regulatory units, which lead to activation of both autonomic and somatic pathways destined for the CC or the penile striated muscles. These components can be evaluated by recording ICP in conscious animals, allowing the investigator to avoid possible deleterious effects of anesthesia on supraspinal and spinal transmitter pathways that may be involved in the regulation of erection.
|Journal||Current protocols in pharmacology / editorial board, S.J. Enna (editor-in-chief) ... [et al.]|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2005|
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