Future Sexual Medicine Physiological Treatment Targets


Arthur L. Burnett, MD, The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA. Tel: 410-614-3986; Fax: 410-614-3695; E-mail: aburnett@jhmi.edu


Introduction.  Sexual function in men and women incorporates physiologic processes and regulation of the central and peripheral nervous systems, the vascular system, and the endocrine system. There is need for state-of-the-art information as there is an evolving research understanding of the underlying molecular biological factors and mechanisms governing sexual physiologic functions.

Aim.  To develop an evidence-based, state-of-the-art consensus report on the current knowledge of the major cellular and molecular targets of biologic systems responsible for sexual physiologic function.

Methods.  State-of-the-art knowledge representing the opinions of seven experts from four countries was developed in a consensus process over a 2-year period.

Main Outcome Measures.  Expert opinion was based on the grading of evidence-based medical literature, widespread internal committee discussion, public presentation, and debate.

Results.  Scientific investigation in this field is needed to increase knowledge and foster development of the future line of treatments for all forms of biological-based sexual dysfunction. This article addresses the current knowledge of the major cellular and molecular targets of biological systems responsible for sexual physiologic function. Future treatment targets include growth factor therapy, gene therapy, stem and cell-based therapies, and regenerative medicine.

Conclusions.  Scientific discovery is critically important for developing new and increasingly effective treatments in sexual medicine. Broad physiologic directions should be vigorously explored and considered for future management of sexual disorders. Burnett AL, Goldstein I, Andersson K-E, Argiolas A, Christ G, Park K, and Xin ZC. Future sexual medicine physiologic treatment targets. J Sex Med 2010;7:3269–3304.