• Erectile Dysfunction;
  • Stem Cells;
  • Adipose-Derived Stem Cell;
  • Differentiation;
  • FGF2


Introduction.  Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are a somatic stem cell population contained in fat tissue that possess the ability for self-renewal, differentiation into one or more phenotypes, and functional regeneration of damaged tissue, which may benefit the recovery of erectile function by using a stem cell-based therapy.

Aim.  To review available evidence concerning ADSCs availability, differentiation into functional cells, and the potential of these cells for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Methods.  We examined the current data (from 1964 to 2008) associated with the definition, characterization, differentiation, and application of ADSCs, as well as other kinds of stem cells for the cell-based therapies of ED.

Main Outcome Measures.  There is strong evidence supporting the concept that ADSCs may be a potential stem cell therapy source in treating ED.

Results.  The ADSCs are paravascularly localized in the adipose tissue. Under specific induction medium conditions, these cells differentiated into neuron-like cells, smooth muscle cells, and endothelium in vitro. The insulin-like growth factor/insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF/IGFR) pathway participates in neuronal differentiation while the fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) pathway is involved in endothelium differentiation. In a preliminary in vivo experiment, the ADSCs functionally recovered the damaged erectile function. However, the underlying mechanism needs to be further examined.

Conclusion.  The ADSCs are a potential source for stem cell-based therapies, which imply the possibility of an effective clinical therapy for ED in the near future. Lin G, Banie L, Ning HX, Bella AJ, Lin C-S, and Lue TF. Potential of adipose-derived stem cells for treatment of erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med 2009;6(suppl 3):320–327.