To investigate the feasibility of erectile function restoration by the genitofemoral nerve to pelvic nerve transfer in rats. METHODS;: Thirty-six male rats were included in this study. Rats in the nerve transfer group (n=12) were subjected to pelvic nerve, sacral roots and L6 roots transection and then bilateral genitofemoral nerve to pelvic nerve transfer, rats in the nerve resection group (n=12) were subjected to pelvic nerve, sacral roots and L6 roots transection without nerve transfer, and rats in the control group (n=12) served as controls. After reinnervation, awake intracavernous pressure (ICP) assessment was performed. Fluoro-Gold was injected into the corpus cavernosum. Immediately before euthanasia, transferred nerves were stimulated to test penile intracavernous pressure. The L6, S1and L1-2 spinal cord segments were used for retrogradely labeled neurons. Regenerative nerve morphological examination assessment was performed.
Genitofemoral nerve stimulation induced an increase in ICP in the nerve transfer group. The mean ICP in this group was (33.8±9.4 mmHg), which is higher than the mean value in the nerve resection group (3.9±1.0 mmHg) but lower than that in the control group (69.8±12.2 mmHg) (p < 0.05). The formation of new neural pathways was confirmed by the appearance of Fluoro-Gold labeled neurons in the L-1 and L-2 spinal cord segments in the nerve transfer group. Regenerative nerve morphological examination showed good axonal regeneration after genitofemoral nerve transfer. CONCLUSIONS;: Nerve regeneration can be obtained by genitofemoral nerve to pelvic nerve transfer, and erectile function can be restored.
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