To clarify the effects of cellular self-aggregation of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) on erectile function (EF).
A model of neurogenic erectile dysfunction (NED) was performed using bilateral cavernous nerve crush injury in rats. ADSCs suspensions (1 × 10/ 0.2 ml), were administered via intracavernous injection (ICI) after being allowed to shelve for 0 min (ICI 0) or 60 min (ICI 60) in vitro, as well as cell aggregates isolated from ICI 60 (ICI A). The caudal vein injection group (CVI 60) was used to evaluate whether cell self-aggregation was beneficial to EF when introduced into the peripheral circulation. One day after the transplantation, the distribution of cells was observed. EF and histopathological changes were evaluated after four weeks.
Approximately 85% of ADSCs self-aggregated into cell clusters at 60 min. The ICI 60 had more significant improvements in EF and more visualized ADSCs retained in the corpus cavernosum (CC) than ICI 0 and CVI 60 (P < 0.05), but no significant difference between ICI 60 and ICI A. In the CVI 60 group, the cell clusters formed by self-aggregation could hardly reach the CC and were mostly found in lung tissue. Immunofluorescence staining showed increased the content of expressing biomarkers of smooth muscle, nerve within the CC tissue in the ICI groups when compared to the CVI group.
ADSCs self-aggregation before ICI may be an influential factor in the treatment of NED. Its potential mechanism may be through improving cell retention in the CC.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.