Up-regulation of the RhoA/Rho-kinase signaling pathway in corpus cavernosum from endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (NOS), but not neuronal NOS, null mice

Fernanda B.M. Priviero, Li Ming Jin, Zhekang Ying, Cleber E. Teixeira, R. Clinton Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We tested the hypothesis that the basal release of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial cells modulates contractile activity in the corpus cavernosum (CC) via inhibition of the RhoA/Rho-kinase signaling pathway. Cavernosal strips from wild-type (WT), endothelial nitric-oxide synthase knockout [eNOS(-/-)], and neuronal nitric-oxide synthase knockout [nNOS(-/-)] mice were mounted in myographs, and isometric force was recorded. mRNA and protein expression of key molecules in the RhoA/ Rho-kinase pathway were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, respectively. The cGMP levels were determined. The Rho-kinase inhibitors (R)-(+)-trans-N-(4-pyridyl)-4-(1-aminoethyl)- cyclohexanecarboxamide (Y-27632) and (S)-(+)-2-methyl-1-[(4-methyl-5- isoquinolinyl)sulfonyl] homopiperazine (H-1152) reduced cavernosal contractions evoked by phenylephrine or electrical field stimulation (EFS) in a concentration-dependent manner, although this inhibition was less effective in tissues from eNOS(-/-) mice. Y-27632 enhanced relaxations induced by sodium nitroprusside, EFS, and NO (administered as acidified NaNO2) without affecting the cGMP content of the cavernosal strips. This enhancement was less prominent in CC from eNOS(-/-). The protein expression of RhoA, Rho-guanine dissociation inhibitor, and Rho-kinase β did not differ among the strains. However, in eNOS(-/-) CC, the protein expression of Rho-kinase α and both mRNA and protein expression of p115-Rho-associated guanine exchange factor (RhoGEF), PDZ-RhoGEF, and leukemia-associated RhoGEF were up-regulated. Phosphorylation of MYPT1 at Thr696 was higher in tissues from eNOS(-/-) mice. A high concentration of Y-27632 significantly enhanced NO release in CC stimulated by EFS. These results suggest a basal release of NO from endothelial cells, which inhibits contractions mediated by the RhoA/Rho-kinase pathway and modulates the expression of proteins related to this pathway in mouse CC. It indicates that endothelial integrity is essential to the maintenance of erectile function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Up-regulation of the RhoA/Rho-kinase signaling pathway in corpus cavernosum from endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (NOS), but not neuronal NOS, null mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this