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

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.

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.

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).

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.

Actas urologicas espanolas. 2016 Aug 02 [Epub ahead of print]

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

Departamento de Andrología, Fundación Puigvert /Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, España. Electronic address: ., Departamento de Andrología, Fundación Puigvert /Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, España., Sección de Patología, Fundación Puigvert /Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, España., Departamento de Patología, Hospital Clínico, Universidad de Chile , Santiago, Chile., Departamento de Urología, Hospital Clínico, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Departamento de Urología, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.