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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors in female sexual dysfunction.

Based on the increasing knowledge on both the physiology of penile erection and the pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction, selective phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors have been successfully introduced in the oral treatment of male erectile dysfunction. Because of their central role in smooth muscle tone regulation, PDEs remain an attractive target for drug development in urology. Since the distribution and functional significance of PDE isoenzymes vary in different tissues, selective inhibitors of the isoenzymes have the potential to exert at least partially specific effects on the target tissue. Currently, PDE inhibitors are under investigation with potential uses in urinary stone disease, overactive bladder and the so-called benign prostatic syndrome. The convincing clinical data on the use of the orally active PDE5 inhibitors sildenafil (VIAGRA), vardenafil (LEVITRA) and tadalafil (CIALIS) in the treatment of erectile dysfunction are accompanied by boosting research activities on intracellular signal transduction and PDE characterisation in female genital tissues with the aid of immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry and molecular biology. The expression of various PDE isoforms in the human clitoris, vagina and labia minora was shown by means of immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR analyses and it was concluded from functional studies that an increase in cGMP or cAMP might be involved in the regulation of female genital blood flow and the control of genital non-vascular smooth muscle. As a consequence, the efficacy and safety of the PDE5 inhibitor sildenafil in the treatment of symptoms of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), including female sexual arousal disorders (FSAD), have been evaluated. Although the experiences from these early clinical studies have so far not been conclusive, they suggest that, after appropriate evaluation of patients, inhibition of PDE5 might be of benefit for selected individuals with FSAD. Such research efforts will possibly allow the identification of efficacious and diagnostic tools for erectile dysfunction and of even more selective drugs in its therapy.[1]


  1. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors in female sexual dysfunction. Mayer, M., Stief, C.G., Truss, M.C., Uckert, S. World journal of urology. (2005) [Pubmed]
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