It is widely accepted that nitric oxide plays an important role in the biology of the penis, serving most familiarly as the agent responsible for penile erection. Early investigation in the field led to the identification of the signaling function of the molecule in the penis which yields corporal smooth muscle relaxation fundamental for the erectile response. Ongoing study of this molecule and its signaling pathway in erectile tissue has served to revise and clarify its importance. Current information conveys the prerequisite of the nitric oxide signaling pathway for penile erection, the regulatory basis for the generation and actions of nitric oxide in the penis, the diverse roles of its synthetic enzyme isoforms in penile biology, and the interaction between nitric oxide and other molecular pathways operative in the broad context of erection physiology. Insight into these subject areas has therapeutic relevance for pathologic conditions of the penis. The purpose of this review is to highlight the latest areas of investigation related to the science of nitric oxide in the penis, as a gateway for considering novel therapeutic strategies for erectile disorders now and in the future.
Keywords: Nitric oxide, nitric oxide synthase, cGMP, penis, erection
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