A new compound developed by scientists may help treat priapism.
The compound, called C6' offered mice-with and without sickle cell disease-relief by normalizing nitric oxide levels in penile blood.
In addition to helping men with priapism, this action of this compound also provides insight for future research related to vascular and circulatory disorders such as hypertension.
"This study has implications for quality of life by suggesting the possible role of a drug therapy for controlled, physiologic release of nitric oxide that may treat conditions of altered nitric oxide signaling or function," Gwen Lagoda, M.S., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Urology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, in Baltimore, Maryland, said.
"Its application may extend beyond erection disorders and include other health conditions involving abnormal circulation and blood flow," she said.
Scientists analyzed two groups of experimental mice. The first group had both endothelial and neuronal nitric oxide synthase knocked out. The second group of mice had sickle cell disease.
In both groups of mice, nitric oxide signaling was known to be abnormal and resulted in abnormal erections.
When these mice were given C6' treatment, their molecular abnormalities were reduced and erectile functioning returned to levels similar to normal mice.
The research is published online in The FASEB Journal.