We investigated whether bacterial lipopolysaccharide treatment causes any neuronal and vascular hyporeactivity in mouse cavernous tissue and also whether melatonin has any restorative effect on this possible neuronal and vascular hyporesponsiveness. Lipopolysaccharide treatment attenuated contractions in response to phenylephrine. Treatment with the inducible nitric oxide synthase inhibitor aminoguanidine or melatonin restored the hypocontractility of the cavernous smooth muscle to phenylephrine. Relaxant responses of corpus cavernosum precontracted by phenylephrine to acetylcholine or electrical field stimulation were significantly impaired in mice treated with bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Treatment with aminoguanidine or melatonin could prevent the impairment of the neuronal and endothelial relaxations. There was no significant difference between control and lipopolysaccharide-treated groups in the contractile response to high-dose KCl and in the relaxant response to papaverine. In conclusion, bacterial lipopolysaccharide treatment caused a neuronal and endothelial dysfunction in the mouse corpus cavernosum. A possible increased oxidative activity in the cavernous tissue may be a major reason for the impairment of relaxant responses and hypocontracility of tissue. The restorative effects of melatonin on this hyporeactivity may depend on its antioxidant properties and partly on its inhibitory action on the inducible nitric oxide synthase production. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.