Human Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells Improves Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetic Rats

A potential treatment for injury induced erectile dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is thought to be an irreversible progressive disease process. In the diabetic patient the inner lining of the blood vessel, known as the endothelium, is thought to be the major site of diabetes induced injury. The cells making up the endothelium, called endothelial cells, are also key in the normal erectile mechanism. This is most likely the reason why the first-line oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5) sildenafil, tadalifil and vardenafil, used to treat men suffering from ED are not as effective in these patients.  Prior studies have successfully used mesenchymal stem cells obtained from bone marrow and adipose tissue to treat erectile function in various animal models of ED.

In this innovative controlled study in rats by Cengiz,T et al (Sex Med 2017;14:50-58), human umbilical cord blood stem cell demonstrated a significant improvement in erectile function after treatment as measured by pressure inside the penis (intracavernosal pressure). Although too early to use this therapy in humans, their study demonstrates the potential for umbilical stem cells to be useful for recovery from injury induced ED.