Enzymatically isolated smooth muscle cells of the corpora cavernosa obtained from open biopsies of 15 patients, clinically nonresponding to papaverine/phentolamine and prostaglandin E(1) (PGE(1)) and classified by cavemosometry,were examined using the patch-clamp technique in the whole-cell configuration mode simultaneously monitoring the intracellular calcium concentration by means of the Ca^2+-sensitive fluorescence dye FURA-II. It could be demonstrated that extracellularly applied PGE(1) induces smooth muscle relaxation by inhibition of voltage-dependent L-type Ca^2+ currents (58 ± 8%). Compared to intact cavernous tissue (n = 5), the smooth muscle cells of 14/15 PGE(1) nonresponders had no evidence of functional disturbance. Due to intact smooth muscle cells in most cases, etiology of venoocclusive dysfunction remains unclear.

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