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A Systematic Review on Rho-Kinase as a Potential Therapeutic Target for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Authors Zewdie KA, Ayza MA, Tesfaye BA, Wondafrash DZ, Berhe DF

Received 27 March 2020

Accepted for publication 22 June 2020

Published 17 July 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 261—272


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jan Colli

Kaleab Alemayehu Zewdie, Muluken Altaye Ayza, Bekalu Amare Tesfaye, Dawit Zewdu Wondafrash, Derbew Fikadu Berhe

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Kaleab Alemayehu Zewdie
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mekelle University, P.O. Box: 1871, Mekelle, Ethiopia
Tel +251921546562

Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common clinical condition with limited treatment options. The main aim of the present systematic review was to synthesize information on Rho-kinase as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of ED.
Methods: We performed a systematic literature study in PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus. Included studies were original articles studied the role of Rho-kinase in the pathogenesis and/or new treatment approach for ED in animal models and clinical studies, published between 2014 and 2019. Data derived from each study were study design used, interventions applied and main treatment outcomes. The quality of the selected articles was assessed by CAMARADES criteria and data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: A total of 1067 original articles were retrieved in the given period and eighteen papers met our inclusion criteria. Five articles explain the role of Rho-kinase in ED pathogenesis using different models such as cavernous nerve crush injury, heart failure-induced ED, vasculogenic and post-radical prostatectomy ED, diabetes-induced ED and age-related ED. Other ten papers explain the role of novel drugs evaluated for ED treatment by targeting Rho-kinase as a new approach for ED therapy. The rest three papers discuss the role of plant extracts used by traditional society for the treatment of ED and assess their potential function in targeting Rho-kinase in animal models. The penile erectile functional index has shown that the ratio of intracavernosal pressure to mean arterial pressure (ICP/MAP) was decreased due to age and various chronic diseases. Whilst, ROCK I and ROCK II expression were increased. Western blot findings have also shown that ROCK II and MYPT-1 phosphorylation rates increased in cavernous tissue after ED induction. Besides, compounds which can inhibit the action of Rho-kinase activity showed relaxation of the corpus cavernosum, decrease in corporal fibrosis, and alleviate increased apoptosis and caspase-3 activity in an NO-independent manner. Moreover, histological and molecular dysregulation have been improved by inhibition of Rho-kinase.
Conclusion: Targeting Rho-kinase may be a possible target for the treatment of ED secondary to specific causes, and Rho-kinase inhibitors may be a new drug family for the treatment of ED. However, this requires further studies for in-depth understanding.

Keywords: ROCK, Rho-kinase inhibitors, novel, therapeutic target, erectile dysfunction

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