Phosphorylated Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase Mediates Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-Induced Penile Erection

Biljana Musicki, Michael A. Palese, Julie K. Crone, Arthur L. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced penile erection is mediated by activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) through its phosphorylation. We assessed the role of constitutively activated eNOS in VEGF-induced penile erection using wild-type (WT) and eNOS-knockout (eNOS -/-) mice with and without vasculogenic erectile dysfunction. Adult WT and eNOS-/- mice were subjected to sham operation or bilateral castration to induce vasculogenic erectile dysfunction. At the time of surgery, animals were injected intracavernosally with a replication-deficient adenovirus expressing human VEGF145 (109 particle units) or with empty virus (Ad.Null). After 7 days, erectile function was assessed in response to cavernous nerve electrical stimulation. Total and phosphorylated protein kinase B (Akt) as well as total and phosphorylated eNOS were quantitatively assessed in mice penes using Western immunoblot and immunohistochemistry. In intact WT mice, VEGF145 significantly increased erectile responses, and in WT mice after castration, it completely recovered penile erection. However, VEGF145 failed to increase erectile responses in intact eNOS-/- mice and only partially recovered erectile function in castrated eNOS-/- mice. In addition, VEGF145 significantly increased phosphorylation of eNOS at Serine 1177 by approximately 2-fold in penes of both intact and castrated WT mice. The data provide a molecular explanation for VEGF stimulatory effect on penile erection, which involves phosphorylated eNOS (Serine 1177) mediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth factors
  • Male reproductive tract
  • Nitric oxide
  • Penis
  • Signal transduction


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