Resveratrol improves erectile function in animal model of diabetes
Friday, August 23, 2013. An article published online on June 24, 2013 in the Asian Journal of Andrology reports the finding of researchers at China's Nanjing University of an ability for resveratrol, an antioxidant compound found in red grapes and wine, to restore erectile function in diabetic rats. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common complication of diabetes, and is frequently an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. In diabetic animals, apoptosis (programmed cell death) due to oxidative stress occurring in penile tissues has been implicated as a leading cause of erectile impairment.
Yu-Tian Dai and colleagues compared the effects of eight weeks of intragastric administration of resveratrol or saline among 48 rats whose diabetes was induced by streptozocin injection. A group of 12 nondiabetic rats served as controls. The team found that resveratrol restored erectile function while upregulating the expression of SIRT1 protein, which is activated by calorie restriction and has been associated with longevity. The compound simultaneously improved smooth muscle content and superoxide dismutase activity, while decreasing levels of malondialdehyde (which reflect oxidative stress).
"Diabetes-induced ED is a disease that involves multiple pathogenic pathways, including endothelial dysfunction, apoptosis and oxidative stress," the authors write. "Resveratrol not only improved endothelial function by activating endothelial nitric oxide synthase but also suppressed apoptosis and prevented oxidative stress in the corpus cavernosum."
"Calorie restriction is another effective method of upregulating SIRT1, and it is also the most common treatment for diabetic patients," they note. "Thus, resveratrol should be considered in combination with calorie restriction or other treatments to obtain better outcomes for diabetes-induced ED."