• Fibrosis;
  • TGFβ;
  • Penis;
  • Myofibroblast;
  • PDE5;
  • Myostatin


Introduction.  Despite its high prevalence and impact on the quality of life of patients, and that it is an excellent model for the study of fibrotic processes, Peyronie's disease (PD) is an orphan disease in biomedical research. The development of animal and cell culture models has advanced substantially the understanding of its molecular and cellular pathology and the proposal of new therapies.

Aim.  To review the literature pertaining to the use of these models for the study of PD.

Methods.  PubMed search conducted from the first report of an animal model for PD.

Results.  This model, based on the finding that transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) is overexpressed in the PD plaque, consists on the injection of TGFβ1 into the tunica albuginea of the rat. This leads to a PD-like plaque retaining many of the histological and biochemical features of human PD. Another rat model, based on the hypothesis that the PD plaque arises from trauma to the penis, causing fibrinogen extravasation that initiates as fibrin a fibrotic response, consists on injection of fibrin into the tunica. The cell culture model is based on the demonstration that myofibroblasts are abundant in the human PD plaque.

Conclusions.  These models have: (i) clarified the role of microtrauma, myofibroblasts, and oxidative stress in plaque development; (ii) demonstrated that this tissue is under sustained turnover by fibrotic and antifibrotic mechanisms; (iii) showed the interplay of collagenolytic and fibrinolytic systems and their inhibitors; (iv) detected an endogenous antifibrotic process consisting of the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase that counteracts oxidative stress, collagen synthesis, and myofibroblast generation; (v) characterized the antifibrotic effects of chronic treatment with phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors; (vi) discovered the cytogenetic instability of PD cells and alterations in their gene expression; and (vii) detected stem cells in the tunica albuginea with a potential role in fibrosis and ossification. Gonzalez-Cadavid NF, and Rajfer J. Experimental models of peyronie's disease. Implications for new therapies. J Sex Med 2009;6:303–313.