Molecular pathophysiology of priapism: Emerging targets

Uzoma A. Anele, Belinda F. Morrison, Arthur L. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Priapism is an erectile disorder involving uncontrolled, prolonged penile erection without sexual purpose, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. Ischemic priapism, the most common of the variants, occurs with high prevalence in patients with sickle cell disease. Despite the potentially devastating complications of this condition, management of recurrent priapism episodes historically has commonly involved reactive treatments rather than preventative strategies. Recently, increasing elucidation of the complex molecular mechanisms underlying this disorder, principally involving dysregulation of nitric oxide signaling, has allowed for greater insights and exploration into potential therapeutic targets. In this review, we discuss the multiple molecular regulatory pathways implicated in the pathophysiology of priapism. We also identify the roles and mechanisms of molecular effectors in providing the basis for potential future therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-483
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Drug Targets
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Adenosine
  • Nitric oxide
  • Opiorphins
  • Recurrent ischemic priapism treatment
  • Rho kinase
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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