Growth factors for therapeutic angiogenesis in hypercholesterolemic erectile dysfunction

Authors

  • Donghua Xie,

    1. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
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  • Brian H. Annex,

    1. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
    2. Division of Cardiology and Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
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  • Craig F. Donatucci

    1. Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
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Dr Craig F. Donatucci, Box 3274, Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC 27710, USA. Tel: +1-919-684-2127 Fax: +1-919-681-7423 E-mail: donat001@mc.duke.edu

Abstract

The past decade has seen an explosion of new information on the physiology of penile erection, and pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction (ED). Hypercholesterolemia is a chronic condition that can lead to degeneration in the vasculature bed and can result in ED if the penile vasculature is involved. Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels from preexisting vasculature. Therapeutic angiogenesis seeks to harness the mechanisms of vascular growth to treat disorders of inadequate tissue perfusion, such as coronary artery disease and ED. There have been tremendous changes in the field of therapeutic angiogenesis over the past decade, and there is much promise for the future. Initial preclinical work with cytokine growth factor delivery resulted in a great deal of enthusiasm for the treatment of ischemic heart and/or peripheral vascular disease, though clinical studies have not achieved similar success. With an increased understanding of the complex mechanisms involved in angiogenesis, novel therapies which target multiple different angiogenic pathways are also being developed and tested. The penis is a convenient tissue target for gene therapy because of its external location and accessibility, the ubiquity of endothelial lined spaces, and low level of blood flow, especially in the flaccid state. Therapeutic angiogenesis is an exciting field that continues to evolve. This review will focus on the development of growth factors for hypercholesterolemic ED, the use of various growth factors for ED therapy, their routes of delivery, and the results in animal studies.

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