Translational Perspective on the Role of Testosterone in Sexual Function and Dysfunction

The biological importance of testosterone is generally accepted by the medical community; however, controversy focuses on its relevance to sexual function and the sexual response, and our understanding of the extent of its role in this area is evolving.

To provide scientific evidence examining the role of testosterone at the cellular and molecular levels as it pertains to normal erectile physiology and the development of erectile dysfunction and to assist in guiding successful therapeutic interventions for androgen-dependent sexual dysfunction.

In this White Paper, the Basic Science Committee of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America assessed the current basic science literature examining the role of testosterone in sexual function and dysfunction.

Testosterone plays an important role in sexual function through multiple processes: physiologic (stimulates activity of nitric oxide synthase), developmental (establishes and maintains the structural and functional integrity of the penis), neural (development, maintenance, function, and plasticity of the cavernous nerve and pelvic ganglia), therapeutically for dysfunctional regulation (beneficial effect on aging, diabetes, and prostatectomy), and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibition (testosterone supplement to counteract phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor resistance).

Despite controversies concerning testosterone with regard to sexual function, basic science studies provide incontrovertible evidence for a significant role of testosterone in sexual function and suggest that properly administered testosterone therapy is potentially advantageous for treating male sexual dysfunction.

The journal of sexual medicine. 2016 Aug [Epub]

Carol A Podlasek, John Mulhall, Kelvin Davies, Christopher J Wingard, Johanna L Hannan, Trinity J Bivalacqua, Biljana Musicki, Mohit Khera, Nestor F González-Cadavid, Arthur L Burnett

Departments of Urology, Physiology, and Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA. Electronic address: ., Pediatric Endocrinology Department, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA., Department of Urology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY, USA., Department of Physiology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA., Departments of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Physiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA., James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA., James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA., Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA., Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA., James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

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