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Tumor Necrosis Factor-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) and Its Death Receptor (DR5) in Peyronie's Disease. A Biomolecular Study of Apoptosis Activation


Carla Loreto, MD, Department of Anatomy, Diagnostic Pathology, Forensic Medicine, Hygiene and Public Health, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia, 87-95123, Catania 95123, Italy. Tel: 390953782038; Fax: 390953782046; E-mail:


Introduction.  Peyronie's disease (PD) is a connective tissue disorder of tunica albuginea (TA), a thick fibrous sheath surrounding the corpora cavernosa of the penis. Relatively, little is known about the disease itself.

Aim.  To investigate whether the apoptosis cascade in degenerated and macroscopically deformed TA from men with PD is activated through the extrinsic pathway, by assessing the immunoexpression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its death receptor, DR5.

Methods.  TA plaques from 15 men with PD and from four unaffected men were processed for TRAIL and DR5 immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis.

Main Outcome Measures.  A greater understanding of the pathophysiology of PD through a molecular approach, to gain insights that may lead to novel forms of treatment.

Results.  Activation of the apoptosis mechanisms through the extrinsic pathway was demonstrated by TRAIL and DR5 overexpression in fibroblasts and myofibroblasts from affected TA.

Conclusion.  The finding that apoptosis activation in TA plaques occurs, at least in part, via the extrinsic pathway may help devise novel therapeutic options for these patients. Loreto C, Barbagli G, Djinovic R, Vespasiani G, Carnazza ML, Miano R, Musumeci G, Sansalone S. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its death receptor (DR5) in Peyronie's disease. A biomolecular study of apoptosis activation. J Sex Med 2011;8:109–115.