Alternatively spliced neuronal nitric oxide synthase mediates penile erection

K. Joseph Hurt, Sena F. Sezen, Hunter C. Champion, Julie K. Crone, Michael A. Palese, Paul L. Huang, Akira Sawa, Xiaojiang Luo, Biljana Musicki, Solomon H. Snyder, Arthur L. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A key role for nitric oxide (NO) in penile erection is well established, but the relative roles of the neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) versus endothelial forms of NOS are not clear. nNOS- and endothelial NOS-deficient mice maintain erectile function and reproductive capacity, questioning the importance of NO. Alternatively, residual NO produced by shorter transcripts in the nNOS -/- animals might suffice for normal physiologic function. We show that the abeta; splice variant of nNOS elicits normal erection despite a decrease in stimulus-response characteristics and a 5-fold increased sensitivity to the NOS inhibitor, L-NAME. Residual nNOSβ generates only 10% of the normal NO level in vitro but produces citrulline and diaphorase staining reflecting in vivo NOS activity in pelvic ganglion nerves that is comparable to WT animals. Thus, alternatively spliced forms of nNOS are major mediators of penile erection and so may be targets for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3440-3443
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 28 2006


  • Cavernous nerve
  • NADPH diaphorase
  • Penis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Alternatively spliced neuronal nitric oxide synthase mediates penile erection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this