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Harnessing Stem Cell Potential for the Treatment of Erectile Function with Diabetes Mellitus: From Preclinical/Clinical Perspectives to Penile Tissue Engineering


Serap Gur and Wayne J.G. Hellstrom*   Pages 1 - 13 ( 13 )


Background: According to the World Health Organization, more than 150 million people are diabetic, and this number will increase twofold by the year 2025. Diabetes-related complications affect all body organ systems, including the penis. Diabetes-induced erectile dysfunction (ED) is caused by neuropathy of the penile nerves and vasculopathy of the smooth muscle and endothelium corpus cavernosum (1).

Objective: The study aimed to present an overview of stem cell (SC) research in diabetic animal models of ED, focusing on the function, signaling, and niches that have a prominent role in the regeneration of cavernosal cells and regeneration of penile tissues. We highlight common erectile pathologies caused by diabetes and review relevant preclinical trials. We also discuss paracrine mechanisms of various SC therapies involved in the repair of endothelial cells and cavernous nerves in these diabetic models.

Method: A PubMed search was performed, with dates ranging from inception until Mar 31, 2019.

Results: This review provides a comprehensive evaluation of the various strategies that have been investigated for improving SC delivery methods, through preclinical literature and published clinical trials regarding ED in men with diabetes. Various cell-type applications have been beneficial to erectile function in diabetic models of ED.

Conclusion: This review examines the progress and remaining challenges in diabetes-related SC research regarding ED. Moving forward, it is only with a combined effort of basic biology and translational work that the potential of SC-based therapies in diabetes can be realized.


Stem cell, diabetes mellitus, preclinical, erectile dysfunction, clinical trials, tissue engineering.


Department of Urology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, Department of Urology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA

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