Distribution and functional significance of phosphodiesterase isoenzymes in the human lower urinary tract

World J Urol. 2005 Dec;23(6):368-73. doi: 10.1007/s00345-005-0017-3. Epub 2005 Dec 6.


To date, it is widely accepted that several disorders of the male and female urogenital tract, such as erectile dysfunction, bladder overactivity, urinary stone disease and the benign prostatic syndrome, can be therapeutically approached by influencing the function of the smooth musculature of the respective organs. In order to achieve a pronounced drug effect without significant adverse events, especially on the cardiovascular system, a certain degree of tissue selectivity is mandatory. Selective intervention in intracellular pathways regulating smooth muscle tone has become a promising strategy to modulate tissue function. Since the concept of taking a pill as a cure for an illness or the relief of symptoms has become widely accepted by the consumers, the pharmacological treatment of urological diseases has focused on selective, orally available drugs, acting via influencing intracellular regulatory mechanisms, thus combining a high response rate and the advantage of an on-demand intake. PDEs play a central role in controlling the levels of cyclic nucleotides (i.e. cAMP and/or cGMP), which are important second messengers in many transmitter pathways involved in the regulation of biological processes of urogenital tissues. Specifically, the use of isoenzyme selective phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors offers great hope in the medical treatment of various genitourinary diseases. These agents are regarded efficacious, having a fast onset of drug action in the target tissue and an improved effect-to-side-effect ratio. The growing experience with the use of this class of compounds in urology is mainly based on basic research efforts and this field will remain the most exciting and innovative subject in genitourinary physiology and pharmacology for the next few years. These tremendous research efforts may lead to a vast pharmacological armamentarium of possible new treatment options. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge on the distribution and potential functional significance of PDE isoenzymes in the human lower urinary tract.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / isolation & purification
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Male
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / isolation & purification*
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / physiology*
  • Prostate / enzymology*
  • Ureter / enzymology*
  • Urethra / enzymology*
  • Urinary Bladder / enzymology*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases