Table of Contents
ISRN Endocrinology
Volume 2011, Article ID 839149, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/839149
Review Article

Testosterone, Endothelial Health, and Erectile Function

1Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of Porto (IBMC-UP), Rua do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal
2Department of Biochemistry (U38-FCT), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Alameda Professor Hernani Monteiro, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal
3Department of Urology, Hospital de S. João, Alameda Professor Hernani Monteiro, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal
4Department of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Alameda Professor Hernani Monteiro, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal

Received 2 June 2011; Accepted 7 July 2011

Academic Editors: C. Anderwald and W. B. Chan

Copyright © 2011 Angela Castela et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Experimental and clinical studies have reported that testosterone has a critical role in the maintenance of homeostatic and morphologic corpus cavernosum components, essential for normal erectile physiology. Although the exact mechanisms mediated by testosterone in erectile function are still under investigation, recent research has suggested an important role in the regulation of endothelial cell (EC) biological functions. Besides stimulating the production of EC mediators, testosterone is also thought to promote the vasculogenic reendothelialization process, mediated by bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells. Additionally, testosterone seems to modulate other erectile tissue components, including trabecular smooth muscle cells, nerve fibers, and tunica albuginea structure, all essential for the erectile process. This paper summarizes current data regarding testosterone-induced cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate penile tissue components, focusing particularly on the role of testosterone in endothelial health and erectile function.