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Cosmic radiation and microgravity linked to erectile dysfunction in astronauts

During missions into space, astronauts are exposed to high levels of galactic cosmic radiation and weightlessness. Simulation experiments in male rats indicated that these points of spaceflight can negatively affect vascular tissues relevant to erectile dysfunction, even after a period of long-term recovery.

The research, which is published in The FASEB Journal, indicated that vascular alterations are induced by relatively low doses of galactic cosmic radiation and to a lesser extent simulated weightlessness, primarily through increases in oxidative stress. Treatment with different antioxidants could counter a few of these effects.

With manned missions to outer space planned for the approaching years, this work indicates that sexual health ought to be closely monitored in astronauts upon their return to Earth. While the negative impacts of galactic cosmic radiation were long-lasting, functional improvements induced by acutely targeting the redox and nitric oxide pathways within the tissues suggest that the erectile dysfunction could also be treatable.”

Justin D. La Favor, PhD, corresponding creator of Florida State University


Journal reference:

Andrade, M. R., et al. (2023) Neurovascular dysfunction related to erectile dysfunction persists after long-term recovery from simulations of weightlessness and deep space irradiation. The FASEB Journal.

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