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The Inflammation Network in the Pathogenesis of Erectile Dysfunction: Attractive Potential Therapeutic Targets

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Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is an evolving health problem in the aging male population. Chronic low-grade inflammation is a critical component of ED pathogenesis and a probable intermediate stage of endothelial dysfunction, especially in metabolic diseases, with the inclusion of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

Objective: This review will present an overview of preclinical and clinical data regarding common inflammatory mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of ED associated with metabolic diseases and the effect of antiinflammatory drugs on ED.

Methods: A literature search of existing pre-clinical and clinical studies was performed on databases [Pubmed (MEDLINE), Scopus, and Embase] from January 2000 to October 2019.

Results: Low-grade inflammation is a possible pathological role in endothelial dysfunction as a consequence of ED and other related metabolic diseases. Increased inflammation and endothelial/prothrombotic markers can be associated with the presence and degree of ED. Pharmacological therapy and modification of lifestyle and risk factors may have a significant role in the recovery of erectile response through reduction of inflammatory marker levels.

Conclusion: Inflammation is the least common denominator in the pathology of ED and metabolic disorders. The inflammatory process of ED includes a shift in the complex interactions of cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules. These data have established that anti-inflammatory agents could be used as a therapeutic opportunity in the prevention and treatment of ED. Further research on inflammation-related mechanisms underlying ED and the effect of therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing inflammation is required for a better understanding of the pathogenesis and successful management of ED.

Keywords: Erectile dysfunction; anti-inflammatory drugs; cytokines; endothelial dysfunction; inflammation; metabolic disease

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2020

This article was made available online on May 11, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Inflammation Network in the Pathogenesis of Erectile Dysfunction: Attractive Potential Therapeutic Targets".

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