Morphological and molecular analysis of apoptosis in the corpus cavernosum of rats submitted to a chronic alcoholism model1
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Purpose: To evaluate the effect of chronic alcoholism on morphometry and apoptosis mechanism and correlate with miRNA-21 expression in the corpus cavernosum of rats. Methods: Twenty-four rats were divided into two experimental groups: Control (C) and Alcoholic group (A). After two weeks of an adaptive phase, rats from group A received only ethanol solution (20%) during 7 weeks. The morphometric and caspase-3 immunohistochemistry analysis were performed in the corpus cavernosum. The miRNA-21 expression was analyzed in blood and cavernous tissue. Results: Chronic ethanol consumption decreased cavernosal smooth muscle area of alcoholic rats. The protein expression of caspase 3 in the corpus cavernosum was higher in A compared to the C group. There was no difference in the expression of miRNA-21 in serum and cavernous tissue between the groups. Conclusion: Chronic ethanol consumption reduced smooth muscle area and increased caspase 3 in the corpus cavernosum of rats, without altered serum and cavernosal miR-21 gene expression.