Xanthine Oxidase

Xanthine oxidase catalyzes the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine and uric acid in a reaction that involves a one-electron transfer to oxygen to yield superoxide. The source of xanthine oxidase is not completely clear, but increased cholesterol levels, liver damage, inflammation, and hypoxia may stimulate the release of the enzyme from the liver and other organs into the circulation. This circulating xanthine oxidase binds to endothelial cells to produce superoxide [20]. Endothelial cells themselves can express xanthine oxidase [21].

Increased xanthine oxidase expression and activity have been implicated in endothelial dysfunction in animal models of SCD, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolemia [16], but the role of xanthine oxidase in human cardiovascular diseases is controversial [22]. The role of xanthine oxidase-derived ROS in the penis is not well understood, and more studies are warranted to determine whether it plays a role in ED.

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