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ISRN Endocrinol. 2011;2011:839149. doi: 10.5402/2011/839149. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Testosterone, endothelial health, and erectile function.

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1
Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of Porto (IBMC-UP), Rua do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal.

Abstract

Experimental and clinical studies have reported that testosterone has a critical role in the maintenance of homeostatic and morphologic corpus cavernosum components, essential for normal erectile physiology. Although the exact mechanisms mediated by testosterone in erectile function are still under investigation, recent research has suggested an important role in the regulation of endothelial cell (EC) biological functions. Besides stimulating the production of EC mediators, testosterone is also thought to promote the vasculogenic reendothelialization process, mediated by bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells. Additionally, testosterone seems to modulate other erectile tissue components, including trabecular smooth muscle cells, nerve fibers, and tunica albuginea structure, all essential for the erectile process. This paper summarizes current data regarding testosterone-induced cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate penile tissue components, focusing particularly on the role of testosterone in endothelial health and erectile function.

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