Effects of diabetes on neurotransmission in rat vaginal smooth muscle

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The aim of this work was to characterize the effect of experimental diabetes on neurotransmission in rat vagina. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups: non-diabetic controls (NDM, n=38) and diabetics (DM, n=38). DM was produced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin. Eight weeks later the animals were killed, the distal part of the vagina was removed, and smooth muscle strips were prepared for functional organ bath experiments and for measurement of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity. In DM preparations, the EC(50) value for noradrenaline (NA) was significantly increased (P<0.05) and the maximal contractile response decreased (P=0.001). In preparations precontracted with NA, the NO donor SNAP and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) caused concentration-dependent relaxations, which were significantly decreased (P<0.001) in the DM group. Electrical stimulation of nerves (EFS) caused frequency-dependent contractions, which were significantly lower in DM than in NDM strips (P<0.001). SNAP and CGRP concentration-dependently inhibited EFS evoked contractions in both NDM and DM preparations. The inhibition was significantly lower (P<0.05) in the DM group. In NDM preparations precontracted with NA, EFS evoked frequency-dependent relaxations; such relaxations were inhibited or reduced in DM. Treatment with the NOS inhibitor, L-NOARG 0.1 mM, abolished relaxations in all preparations or produced contraction in DM preparations. Calcium-dependent NOS activity was not significantly different in the DM and NDM groups. However, the DM animals showed a small but significant increase in calcium-independent NOS-activity (P<0.05). Diabetes interferes with adrenergic-, cholinergic- and NANC-neurotransmitter mechanisms in the smooth muscle of the rat vagina. The changes in the nitrergic neurotransmission are not due to reduction in NOS-activity, but seem to be due to interference with later steps in the L-arginine/NO/guanylate cyclase/cGMP system.


  • A Giraldi
  • K Persson
  • Viktoria Werkström
  • Per Alm
  • G Wagner
  • K E Andersson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
JournalInternational Journal of Impotence Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology (013250300), Pathology, (Lund) (013030000)