International Urology and Nephrology

, Volume 50, Issue 11, pp 1981–1988 | Cite as

Neuroprotective effects of melatonin on erectile dysfunction in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

  • Jiang-lei Zhang
  • Yu Hui
  • Feng ZhouEmail author
  • Jian-Quan HouEmail author
Urology - Original Paper



To explore the neuroprotective effects and its possible mechanisms of melatonin (MT) on erectile dysfunction in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.


Twenty-eight Sprague–Dawley rats received intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin and 8 weeks later, the determined diabetic rats randomly got intraperitoneal injection of phosphate buffer solution (PBS) or MT. Another 12 normal rats received PBS treatment. Four weeks later, intracavernous pressure, mean arterial pressure, pathological changes in penis, and major pelvic ganglion (MPG) were measured. Malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, p38 and p-p38 levels in penis were detected.


Diabetic rats showed significant decreases of erectile function accompanied with serious neuropathy in dorsal penile nerve (DPN) and MPG, meanwhile collagen deposition, oxidative stress, and p-p38 levels in penis were elevated. Melatonin treatment partially but significantly improved the erectile function, ameliorated neuropathy in DPN and MPG, and decreased collagen deposition, oxidative stress, and p-p38 levels in diabetic rats.


Melatonin treatment helps improve erectile function and ameliorate neuropathy and fibrosis in diabetic rats. These may be associated with reductions in oxidative stress, p38MAPK signaling pathway, and neuropathy.


Erectile dysfunction Diabetes mellitus Melatonin Neuroprotective Anti-oxidation p-P38 



This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81641165), Jiangsu Provincial Medical Youth Talent Foundation (QNRC2016720), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M580466), and Postdoctoral Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (2016T90497).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed; all procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Committee for Animal Care and Use of Soochow University.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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