ORLANDO, FL (UroToday) - Dr. Tom Lue discussed autologous stem cell use for ED. He discussed that ability for the planarian species to regenerate any part of its body, but the salamander can only regenerate a limb. In man there are also stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells that have potential to also regenerate.

In adipose tissue there are stem cells as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and Western blotting experiments. The adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) reside near small blood vessels. CD34 staining identifies 60% of peri-vascular areas as harboring ADSCs. It occurs in new blood vessels, and is a sign of regeneration. ADSCs can be harvested by liposuction or fat excision. Adipose cells are digested and ADSCs are cultured for further induction, labeling or gene transfection. ADSCs can also be used for in vivo tissue engineering.

In vitro induction can result in hepatocytes, beta cells to produce insulin or endothelial cells. In vivo, ADSCs placed in muscle can differentiate into skeletal muscle, placed near blood vessels become smooth muscle and in fat can become fat cells. The differentiate into component cell types and integrate into the tissue. Four weeks after injection of ADSCs following cavernous nerve crush injury in a rat model, there is return of function. In older men, he proposed using autologous ADSCs to regenerate erectile function. In rats there is suggestion of differentiation. In a type 2 diabetic rat model of ED, use of ADSCs resulted in improved intracavernosal pressures. He showed neurite cell growth in vitro, that is stimulated by the addition of ADSCs. Experiments using ADSCs to stimulate endothelial cell growth also suggested that this is possible.

A study showed injection of umbilical cord blood stem cells into men having failed PDE5 inhibitors resulted in improved erectile function. This is only a pilot experiment, but shows great promise.

Presented by Tom F. Lue, MD, at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) - May 17 - 22, 2008. Orange County Convention Center - Orlando, Florida, USA.

Reported by UroToday Contributing Editor Christopher P. Evans, MD, FACS

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