What is the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Updated: Aug 08, 2018
  • Author: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

One area of research has involved the use of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an angiogenic growth factor and endothelial cell mitogen. VEGF is produced by vascular smooth muscle, endothelial, and inflammatory cells. It increases production of nitric oxide (NO), which results in improves endothelial function and blood flow in chronic ischemic disorders. [104, 105]

Direct intracavernosal injection of recombinant VEGF protein or adenoviral VEGF that contains plasmids has shown dramatic results on cavernosography in animal models with arteriogenic, venogenic, and neural forms of ED. Burchardt et al identified VEGF 165 as the predominant isoform in the corpora cavernosa, as well as a novel splice variant. [80]

Although VEGF is a potent and important vascular regulator, it probably acts in conjunction with other vascular factors. Although a single-agent VEGF is unlikely to ever be used as monotherapy for ED, the research done into its actions represents an important step in understanding the normal and abnormal vascular physiology associated with ED.


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