Role of Oxidative Stress in ED Unraveling the Molecular Mechanism

Biljana Musicki and Arthur L. Burnett

Abstract Many advances in the understanding of erection physiology and pathophysiology have been made in recent years. These advances have revealed the importance of oxidative stress and a complex interaction between oxidative stress and regulatory pathways in the penis in the development and progression of erectile dysfunction (ED) associated with various disease states. In this chapter, we present current knowledge of the pathophysiology of ED pertaining to the mechanisms of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, the interaction between ROS-generating sources and the main regulatory pathways in the penis, the status of the antioxidant systems that reduce ROS bioavailability, and cellular targets for ROS action in vasculogenic and neurogenic ED. We further discuss a therapeutic strategy to improve erectile function in disease states by targeting specific ROS mechanisms in the penis.

Keywords Oxidative stress • Erectile dysfunction • Molecular mechanism • Penis

• Vasculogenic ED • Neurogenic ED • Superoxide • Peroxynitrite • Vasorelaxation

• Vasoconstriction

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