Introduction. Erectile dysfunction (ED) was shown to be the expression of a systemic vascular disease that can precede coronary artery disease of some years. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are a population of circulating cells with endothelial-regenerative potential that may be reduced in ED and coronary patients. Recently, increased levels of osteocalcin (OCN)-positive EPC have been reported in coronary patients.
Aim. Investigate the correlation between OCN-positive EPC and cavernous atherosclerotic lesion in ED patients.
Methods. A total of 35 subjects (20 ED patients and 15 controls) were evaluated in our andrological center and enrolled in the study.
Main Outcome Measure. All subjects underwent routine clinical examination. Patients were also evaluated with high resolution echo color doppler of penile districts (intima media thickness [IMT] before and after intracavernous alprostadil injection) and circulating levels of progenitor cells (PC), EPC, and OCN-positive fraction of EPC.
Results. A progressive reduction of circulating EPC with the severity of cavernous artery atherosclerosis was found. Conversely circulating OCN-positive EPC levels undergo to a significant increase with cavernous atherogenesis progression.
Conclusions. OCN-positive EPC levels in association with penile-color Doppler ultrasound evaluation of cavernous IMT could be predictive markers of subsequent coronary artery disease in ED patients. Foresta C, De Toni L, Biagioli A, Ganz F, Magagna S, and Caretta N. Increased levels of osteocalcin-positive endothelial progenitor cells in patients affected by erectile dysfunction and cavernous atherosclerosis. J Sex Med 2010;7:751–757.