Science and Technology
publicado em 01/11/2011 às 12h40:00
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Insulin resistance causes erectile dysfunction in obese people

Study developed at Unicamp also shows that treatment with metformin restores insulin sensitivity

 
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Foto: Antoninho Perri/UNICAMP
Pharmaceutical Fábio Henrique da Silva, who led the study
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Pharmaceutical Fábio Henrique da Silva, who led the study

Research conducted at the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FCM) at Unicamp shows that insulin resistance associated with obesity can lead to impotence. The study conducted by the pharmacist Fábio Henrique da Silva with obese mice also revealed that treatment with the substance metformin restores insulin sensitivity in these animals and, consequently, changes in function.

Obesity, says Silva, is considered an important risk factor for the development of insulin resistance, increased cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and reduction of testosterone levels (hypogonadism). All these risk factors may act synergistically changes in erectile function. In this sense, the master's research conducted under Professor Edson Antunes investigated precisely the role of insulin resistance associated with obesity in the pathophysiology of impotence.

It is worth pointing out that obesity, especially abdominal fat, contributes to the development of insulin resistance, highly prevalent in men with erectile dysfunction and strongly associated with changes in intracellular signaling pathway of nitric oxide. So we decided to investigate the pathophysiological changes in the body of mice, says Silva.

In general, the physical sexual dysfunction is caused by the low production of the hormone testosterone. You can also occur because of diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism, and is caused by ingestion of certain drugs. In the case of insulin resistance associated with obesity, a factor hitherto unknown, Fabio Silva hypothesis is that the picture can impair erectile function by reducing the bioavailability of nitric oxide. This is the main neurotransmitter of an intracellular signaling system, which acts to promote smooth muscle relaxation in the corpus cavernosum and hence penile erection.

The amazing thing was that treatment with insulin sensitizer, metformin, restored function in mice. As their weight remained the same throughout the study, we suggest that insulin resistance is important for the development of erectile dysfunction, not just the state of obesity alone.

To reach the results, at first the mice were treated with high-fat diet for 10 weeks. After this period, the mice showed increased body weight, serum total cholesterol and LDL, beyond the framework of insulin resistance. The researchers also measured the relaxation of the erectile tissue in vitro and measured the intracavernous pressure during erection in mice in vivo.

It was at this stage that the results revealed insulin resistance associated with obesity as a cause of changes in nitric oxide / cGMP, causing erectile dysfunction. In the second stage, the animals received treatment with insulin sensitizer, metformin, for 14 days. Metformin treatment reversed the picture. Hence the study's findings, concluded Smith.

Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   School of Medicine    FCM    UNICAMP    Insulin resistance    Obesity    Impotence    Erectile dysfunction    Metformin   
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