Nitric oxide: a physiologic mediator of penile erection

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Science  17 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5068, pp. 401-403
DOI: 10.1126/science.1378650


Nitric oxide (NO) is a cytotoxic agent of macrophages, a messenger molecule of neurons, and a vasodilator produced by endothelial cells. NO synthase, the synthetic enzyme for NO, was localized to rat penile neurons innervating the corpora cavernosa and to neuronal plexuses in the adventitial layer of penile arteries. Small doses of NO synthase inhibitors abolished electrophysiologically induced penile erections. These results establish NO as a physiologic mediator of erectile function.

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