Nerve growth factor, nerve grafts and amniotic membrane grafts restore erectile function in rats

J. K. Burgers, R. J. Nelson, D. M. Quinlan, P. C. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an effort to reduce complications arising from radical pelvic surgery, an improved technique for restoration of autonomic innervation has been developed. The ability of nerve growth factor (NGF) alone or in combination with interposition nerve grafts, as well as the use of fetal amniotic membrane as an alternative growth matrix to enhance regeneration of ablated cavernous nerves were investigated in rats. Rats with ablated cavernous nerve displayed little or no penile erection, either in response to direct electrical stimulation or to an estrous female rat. A step wise improvement in electrically induced erections was observed by NGF alone, nerve graft alone, and the combination of NGF and nerve graft. Restoration of sexual behavior followed the same pattern obtained with electrical stimulation. Furthermore, the use of neonatal amniotic membrane as an alternative nerve growth matrix enhanced both electrically stimulated erection and mating behavior. These results suggest that the use of NGF and appropriate grafting materials can facilitate autonomic nerve regrowth and potentially reduce the morbidity of surgically induced nerve injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-468
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Impotence
  • Nerve growth factors
  • Nerve transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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