Purpose: Female sexual response involves a complex interplay between neurophysiological mechanisms and the nitric oxide (NO)-mediated relaxation of clitoris and vagina. The aim of this study was to evaluate sex steroids regulation of the relaxant pathway in vagina, using a validated animal model. Methods: Subgroups of OVX Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with 17β-estradiol, testosterone, or testosterone and letrozole, and compared with a group of intact animals. Masson's trichrome staining was performed for morphological evaluation of the distal vaginal wall, in vitro contractility studies investigated the effect of OVX and in vivo treatments on vaginal smooth muscle activity. RNA from vaginal tissue was analyzed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Results: Immunohistochemical analysis showed that OVX induced epithelial and smooth muscle structural atrophy, testosterone and testo + letrozole increased the muscle bundles content and organization without affecting the epithelium while 17β-estradiol mediated the opposite effects. In vitro contractility studies were performed on noradrenaline pre-contracted vaginal strips from each experimental group. Acetylcholine (0.001-10 µM) stimulation induced a concentration-dependent relaxation, significantly reduced by NO-synthase inhibitor L-NAME and by guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ. OVX resulted in a decreased responsiveness to acetylcholine, restored by testosterone, with or without letrozole, but not by 17β-estradiol. OVX sensitivity to the NO-donor SNP was higher than in the control. Vardenafil, a PDE5 inhibitor, enhanced SNP effect in OVX + testosterone as well as in control, as supported by RNA expression analysis. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that testosterone improves the NO-mediated smooth muscle vaginal cells relaxation confirming its role in maintaining the integrity of muscular relaxant machinery.

Testosterone positively regulates vagina NO-induced relaxation: an experimental study in rats / Cellai I, Filippi S, Comeglio P, Cipriani S, Maseroli E, Di Stasi V, Todisco T, Marchiani S, Tamburrino L, Villanelli F, Vezzani S, Corno C, Fambrini M, Guarnieri G, Sarchielli E, Morelli A, Rastrelli G, Maggi M, Vignozzi L. - In: JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION. - ISSN 1720-8386. - STAMPA. - 45:(2022), pp. 1161-1172. [10.1007/s40618-022-01743-4]

Testosterone positively regulates vagina NO-induced relaxation: an experimental study in rats

Cellai I;Filippi S;Comeglio P;Cipriani S;Maseroli E;Di Stasi V;Todisco T;Marchiani S;Tamburrino L;Villanelli F;Corno C;Fambrini M;Guarnieri G;Sarchielli E;Morelli A;Rastrelli G;Maggi M;Vignozzi L
2022

Abstract

Purpose: Female sexual response involves a complex interplay between neurophysiological mechanisms and the nitric oxide (NO)-mediated relaxation of clitoris and vagina. The aim of this study was to evaluate sex steroids regulation of the relaxant pathway in vagina, using a validated animal model. Methods: Subgroups of OVX Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with 17β-estradiol, testosterone, or testosterone and letrozole, and compared with a group of intact animals. Masson's trichrome staining was performed for morphological evaluation of the distal vaginal wall, in vitro contractility studies investigated the effect of OVX and in vivo treatments on vaginal smooth muscle activity. RNA from vaginal tissue was analyzed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Results: Immunohistochemical analysis showed that OVX induced epithelial and smooth muscle structural atrophy, testosterone and testo + letrozole increased the muscle bundles content and organization without affecting the epithelium while 17β-estradiol mediated the opposite effects. In vitro contractility studies were performed on noradrenaline pre-contracted vaginal strips from each experimental group. Acetylcholine (0.001-10 µM) stimulation induced a concentration-dependent relaxation, significantly reduced by NO-synthase inhibitor L-NAME and by guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ. OVX resulted in a decreased responsiveness to acetylcholine, restored by testosterone, with or without letrozole, but not by 17β-estradiol. OVX sensitivity to the NO-donor SNP was higher than in the control. Vardenafil, a PDE5 inhibitor, enhanced SNP effect in OVX + testosterone as well as in control, as supported by RNA expression analysis. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that testosterone improves the NO-mediated smooth muscle vaginal cells relaxation confirming its role in maintaining the integrity of muscular relaxant machinery.
2022
45
1161
1172
Cellai I, Filippi S, Comeglio P, Cipriani S, Maseroli E, Di Stasi V, Todisco T, Marchiani S, Tamburrino L, Villanelli F, Vezzani S, Corno C, Fambrini M, Guarnieri G, Sarchielli E, Morelli A, Rastrelli G, Maggi M, Vignozzi L
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Utilizza questo identificatore per citare o creare un link a questa risorsa: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1256595
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