Endothelial dysfunction in diabetic erectile dysfunction

Int J Impot Res. Mar-Apr 2007;19(2):129-38. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901494. Epub 2006 Jun 15.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is highly prevalent in diabetes mellitus. Pathophysiological mechanisms underlying diabetes-associated ED are in large part due to endothelial dysfunction, which functionally refers to the inability of the endothelium to produce vasorelaxing messengers and to maintain vasodilation and vascular homeostasis. The precise mechanisms leading to endothelial dysfunction in the diabetic vasculature, including the penis, are not yet fully understood. Hyperglycemia affects endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity and nitric oxide production/bioavailability, nitric oxide-independent relaxing factors, oxidative stress, production and/or action of hormones, growth factors and/or cytokines, and generation and activity of opposing vasoconstrictors. Considering recent advances in the field of vascular biology and diabetes, the emphasis in this review is placed on the mechanisms of hyperglycemia-induced endothelial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of diabetes-associated ED.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications / etiology*
  • Diabetes Complications / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Signal Transduction
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein