Medical treatment of erectile dysfunction

A newly discovered messenger substance could one day be used to treat erectile dysfunction…

American scientists have discovered a substance that plays an important role in erectile dysfunction of the penis. The so-called adenosine is a messenger substance, which apparently leads in the penis to relaxation of the blood vessels and thus to a better circulation Viagra effect of the corpus cavernosum (Journal of Clinical Investigation 2008, 118: page 1491). With this discovery, the researchers may have discovered a major disease-causing mechanism of priapism, a condition in which without sexual arousal comes to over 3 hours lasting erections.

Their discovery succeeded the scientists rather by accident. When investigating genetically modified mice lacking an adenosine-degrading enzyme, they unexpectedly discovered that the genitalia of the male mice were permanently erected. Various tissue examinations finally resulted in an enrichment of adenosine in the penis – which apparently led to the long-lasting erections. On the other hand, the researchers supplied the mice with the degrading enzyme and the erections disappeared.

In humans, priapism can be triggered by, among other things, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, inflammation of the penis and penile or prostate cancer. Even some medications may be responsible for this condition. In most cases, however, the cause is unknown. In the erections, there is no ejaculation or orgasm buy generic Viagra. The disease changes penile tissue over time and leads to an irreversible loss of erectile function.

“The new results provide us with an important starting point for how priapism could be treated in the future,” concludes Prof.

Michael Köhn from Germany, because there is strong evidence that adenosine also regulates erectile ability in humans.

Treatment of erectile dysfunction

Whether the substance is also suitable for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, however, has yet to be demonstrated. Adenosine is a messenger that has much in common with another messenger that is already being used for therapy, nitric oxide. The known phosphodiesterase inhibitors Viagra, Levitra or Cialis prevent the breakdown of nitric oxide and thus increase its concentration. This improves the circulation of the penis. According to Prof. Köhn, human adenosine can also dilate blood vessels: “Previous reports have shown that injections of adenosine into the erectile tissue of the penis in men can also lead to an erection.” If comparable, the adenosine-degrading enzyme blocking this could be an alternative to the drugs available so far.

In this case, there would even be another parallel to Viagra and Co. Just like the adenosine, the role of nitric oxide in erection was discovered by chance: physicians became suspicious when only patients in a first test phase wanted to return the heart-developed Viagra after use – the men are not. Only then revealed the true potential of the drug. Prof. Köhn: “Male sexuality apparently sometimes reveals its secrets only when research does not expect it.”