Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Regulation of Type-5 Phosphodiesterase in Human and Rat Penile Smooth Muscle Cells

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Relaxation of cavernous smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is a key component in the control of the erectile mechanism. SMCs can switch their phenotype from a contractile differentiated state to a proliferative and dedifferentiated state in response to a change of local environmental stimuli. Proliferation and contraction are both regulated by the intracellular second messengers cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which are degraded by phosphodiesterases (PDEs). The most abundant PDE present in corpora cavernosa is the electrolytic cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5).


We investigated the cellular localization of PDE5 in in vitro cultured corpora cavernosa cells and the effect of mitogenic stimulation on PDE5 expression.


Biochemical ad molecular techniques on cultured SMCs from human and rat penis.

Main Outcome Measures.

We studied the ability of the quiescent SMC phenotype vs. the proliferating phenotype in modulation of PDE5 expression.


We demonstrated that PDE5 is localized in the cytoplasm, in the perinuclear area, and in discrete cytoplasmic foci. As previously demonstrated in human myometrial cells, the cytoplasmic foci may correspond to centrosomes. In corpora cavernosa, PDE5 protein levels are strongly regulated by the mitotic activity of the SMCs, as they were increased in quiescent cultures. In contrast, treatment with platelet-derived grow factor (PDGF), one of the most powerful mitogenic factors for SMCs, reduces the expression of PDE5 after 24 hours of treatment.


We found that PDGF treatment downregulates PDE5 expression in proliferating SMCs, suggesting that PDE5 may represent one of the markers of the contractile phenotype of the SMCs of corpora cavernosa. Carosa E, Castri A, Forcella C, Sebastiani G, Di Sante S, Gravina GL, Ronchi P, Cesarini V, Dolci S, Di Stasi S, Lenzi A, and Jannini EA. Platelet-derived growth factor regulation of type-5 phosphodiesterase in human and rat penile smooth muscle cells. J Sex Med 2014;11:1675–1684.

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