The Mechanistic Basis for Sexual Dysfunction in Male Transforming Growth Factor ß1 Null Mutant Mice

W. V. Ingman, L. M. Mcgrath, W. G. Breed, I. F. Musgrave, R. L. Robker, S. A. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The cytokine transforming growth factor ß1 (TGFB1) is implicated in male sexual function. Previous behavioral studies show that Tgfb1 null mutant mice mount and display limited intromission behavior with receptive females but are unable to complete successful copulation. The studies presented here explore the physiologic basis for sexual dysfunction in Tgfb1 null mutant males. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the surface of the penis in Tgfb1 null mutant males was abnormally coated in superficial keratinized epithelial cells. There was a significant reduction in protrusion of penile spines through the superficial tissue in Tgfb1 null mutant mice; in some mice, the spines were almost completely embedded. Histologic analysis revealed reduced skin thickness in the penis of Tgfb1 null mutant males. Nerve fibers, endothelial cells, smooth muscle actin, macrophages, and neuronal and inducible nitric oxide synthase were present In similar abundance and location in Tgfb1 null mutant mice compared with wild-type controls; however, an increase in collagen I deposition was detected. Behavioral studies revealed that Tgfb1 null mutant males undergo spontaneous noncontact erections, albeit at a reduced rate compared with control mice, and engage in less frequent genital grooming activity. These studies suggest that Tgfb1 null mutation may adversely influence copulatory behavior through effects on both altered structural integrity of the penile skin and impaired tissue compliance leading to erectile dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Andrology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cylokine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Mouse model
  • Penis
  • Sexual behavior
  • Skin

Cite this