Adipocyte accumulation in corpus cavernosum: First clinical evidence and pathophysiological implications in erectile dysfunction

J. Vinay, J. Sarquella, J. Sanchez, F. Algaba, I. Gallegos, E. Ruiz-Castañe, C. Palma

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    © 2016 AEU Objectives Animal models have shown that erectile dysfunction is associated with adipocyte accumulation under tunica albugínea, which could be involved in venous leakage and loss of penile rigidity. In the current sudy, we compared the histology of the penile sub-albuginean region of drug-refractory erectile dysfunction patients undergoing penile prosthesis implantation with potent patients with Peyronie's disease undergoing curvature correction procedures. Materials and methods Seventeen refractory erectile dysfunction patients and fourteen potent patients with Peyronie's disease were recruited. Sub-albuginean tissue samples were taken in each surgery. An expert uropathologist analysed each section. A bivariate analysis was performed. Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios; P value < .05 was considered significant. Results Eleven patients (11/17) in the case group presented cavernous fat cell accumulation, while only one patient (1/14) in the control group presented this finding (P < .05). Adjusted odds ratio for erectile dysfunction was 40.72; 95% CI 2.28-727.29 (P = .012). Conclusions Different studies have shown that androgen disruption could be involved in penile structural changes, leading to trabecular smooth muscle apoptosis and trans or de-differentiation into adipocytes. This is the first prospective study in humans to report an association between erectile dysfunction and sub-albuginean adipocyte accumulation. Venous leakage secondary to this phenomenon could be a factor in the pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction, especially in patients that do not respond to medical therapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-102
    JournalActas Urologicas Espanolas
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


    • Adipocyte accumulation
    • Androgen disruption
    • Erectile dysfunction


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