Background: According to the World Health Organization, more than 150 million people
are diabetic, and this number will increase twofold by the year 2025. Diabetes-related complications
affect all body organ systems, including the penis. Diabetes-induced Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is
caused by neuropathy of the penile nerves and vasculopathy involving the smooth muscle and endothelium
of the corpus cavernosum.
Objective: This study aims to present an overview of Stem Cell (SC) research in diabetic animal models
of ED, focusing on the function, signaling, and niches that have a prominent role in the regeneration
of cavernosal cells and penile tissues. We highlight common erectile pathologies caused by diabetes
and review relevant preclinical trials. We also discuss paracrine mechanisms of various SC therapies
involved in the repair of endothelial cells and cavernous nerves in these diabetic models.
Methods: A PubMed search was performed, with dates ranging from inception until Mar 31, 2019.
Results: This review provides a comprehensive evaluation of the various strategies that have been
investigated for improving SC delivery methods, through preclinical literature and published clinical
trials regarding ED in men with diabetes. Various cell-type applications have benefited erectile function
in diabetic models of ED.
Conclusion: This review examines the progress and remaining challenges in diabetes-related SC research
regarding ED. Moving forward, it is only with a combined effort of basic biology and translational
work that the potential of SC-based therapies in diabetes in ED can be realized.