Aging has been reported to cause impotence, the mechanism of which is unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effect of aging on electrical stimulation-induced neurogenic, carbachol-induced, endothelium-dependent, and sodium nitroprusside-induced cGMP-dependent relaxant responses of rabbit corporal smooth muscle. Male New Zealand white rabbits were divided into young (4 months), intermediate (8 months), and old (24 months) groups. Electrical stimulation-, carbachol-, sodium nitroprusside-, and papaverine-induced relaxant response in isolated corporal smooth muscle strips were determined using in vitro muscle technique. Although there was no significant difference in the relaxant response of corporal strips to papaverine among the groups, relaxant responses to carbachol and sodium nitroprusside were significantly lower in corporal strips of old group than both young and intermediate groups. However, in the old and intermediate groups, electrical field stimulation-induced neurogenic relaxation was significantly reduced compared with the young group. KCl-induced (124 mM) contractile responses were the same in all groups. Our data indicate that the presence of age-dependent differences in the NO/cGMP-mediated relaxant responses of corporal tissue in the male rabbits. This may contribute to the development of impotence. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).