The goal of the present study was to investigate the antifibrotic role of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in Peyronie's disease (PD) by determining whether a plasmid expressing iNOS (piNOS) injected into a PD-like plaque can induce regression of the plaque. A PD-like plaque was induced with fibrin in the penile tunica albuginea of mice and then injected with a luciferase-expressing plasmid (pLuc), either alone or with piNOS, following luciferase expression in vivo by bioluminescence imaging. Rats were treated with either piNOS, an empty control plasmid (pC), or saline. Other groups were treated with pC or piNOS, in the absence of fibrin. Tissue sections were stained for collagen, transforming growth factor (TGF) β1, and plasminogen-activator inhibitor (PAI-1) as profibrotic factors; copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZn SOD) as scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS); and nitrotyrosine to detect nitric oxide reaction with ROS. Quantitative image analysis was applied. Both iNOS and xanthine oxido-reductase (XOR; oxidative stress) were estimated by Western blot analysis. Luciferase reporter expression was restricted to the penis, peaked at 3 days after injection, but continued for at least 3 wk. In rats receiving piNOS, iNOS expression also peaked at 3 days, but expression decreased at the end of treatment, when a considerable reduction of plaque size occurred. Protein nitrotyrosine, XOR, and CuZn SOD increased, and TGFβ1 and PAI-1 decreased. The piNOS gene transfer regressed the PD plaque and expression of profibrotic factors, supporting the view that endogenous iNOS induction in PD is defense mechanism by the tissue against fibrosis.
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