Researchers have discovered that the number of fibroblasts present in the corpus cavernosum promotes erections, which could ultimately lead to the development of new treatments for men suffering from erectile dysfunction.
- The number of fibroblasts present in the corpora cavernosa promotes erection by neutralizing the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.
- The number of fibroblasts present in the penis is affected by the frequency of erections.
- The more frequent the erections, the more the number of fibroblasts increases.
According to a IFOP survey, six out of ten men have already encountered an erection problem at least once in their life. In 2005, there were 44%, which means that this problem is increasing. Of the treatments exist, but the effectiveness is not the same from one patient to another. Research therefore continues to offer new solutions to men.
The number of fibroblasts promotes erection
And, precisely, in a study recently published in the journal ScienceSwedish researchers from Karolinska Institutet and of Uppsala University have made discoveries which could, in the long term, open the way to new therapeutic avenues.
Their work concerns fibroblasts. These are cells present in the corpora cavernosa. When these, located on the top of the penis, fill with blood, this allows for an erection. But this process is also linked to norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter. When norepinephrine is too present, erection is difficult.
In their work, the scientists worked on mice and discovered that fibroblasts could neutralize norepinephrine and therefore promote erections. Thus, the more fibroblasts there are, the more they promote erection.
The scientists’ second discovery is that the number of fibroblasts present in the penis is affected by the frequency of erections. Thus, the more frequent the erections, the more the number of fibroblasts increases. And vice versa: the less frequent the erections, the fewer fibroblasts there are.
“It’s really not that strange, noted Christian Göritzprincipal investigator of the study. If you exert a lot of effort, your body adapts. If you run regularly, it will eventually become easier to breathe while running.”
Do frequent erections prevent erectile dysfunction?
But are the conclusions of this work carried out in mice the same for humans? “The basic mechanisms of erection are very similar in all mammals when it comes to anatomy, cellular structure, etc.answers Christian Göritz. However, there is one difference between humans and most mammals: they have a bone in their penis. This means that effective regulation of blood flow is likely even more important for human reproduction.”
Age is another factor that influences fibroblast counts. The scientists observed that older mice had less, which therefore influences erectile capacity. In men, the prevalence of erectile dysfunction also increases with age. Indeed, according to health insurance“they mainly concern men over 50 years old”.
Thus, having erections on a regular basis could therefore play a preventive role against erectile dysfunction by stimulating the production of fibroblasts. “This isn’t something we showed in our study, so it’s a bit speculative, but a reasonable interpretation is that it gets easier if you have regular erections”, explains Christian Göritz. And perhaps in the long term, these discoveries on the role of fibroblasts will allow the development of new treatments against erectile dysfunction.