Andrology. 2017 Nov;5(6):1073-1081. doi: 10.1111/andr.12411. Epub 2017 Oct 26.
Various neuroimaging studies had identified changes of cerebral activity and structures during the processes of sexual arousal. The identified brain regions were also believed to regulate emotional and cognitive processes. Yet, little was known about the neural mechanisms underlying psychogenic erectile dysfunction. Moreover, brain mechanisms mediating the processing of sexual arousal by these psychological processes were unclear. To investigate this issue, graph theory was applied to evaluate the topological properties of functional brain networks among 24 psychogenic erectile dysfunction patients and 26 healthy controls. Abnormal metrics and correlations with clinical characteristics were further analyzed. Our results showed that psychogenic erectile dysfunction had higher small-worldness and more modules. Furthermore, psychogenic erectile dysfunction showed altered path length and strength of the right superior frontal gyrus (dorsolateral), superior parietal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus and left temporal pole (superior temporal gyrus), post-central gyrus, mainly located in the cognitive control and emotional regulation subnetworks. And the altered parameters of the small-worldness and right parahippocampal gyrus were related to the clinical characteristics of psychogenic erectile dysfunction. Together, our results suggested that psychogenic erectile dysfunction was associated with disruptions in the topological structure of functional brain subnetworks underlying the cognitive and emotional processes.
KEYWORDS: functional magnetic resonance imaging; modularity; psychogenic erectile dysfunction; resting state; small-world