Study IDs Genes That Play a Role in Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) or the inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity, has always been associated with neurological, hormonal and vascular factors. For the first time in recent years, researchers have discovered that there is a specific place in the human genome — the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell — that can also contribute to ED.
In the investigations conducted on large groups of men, it was found that genetic variations around the SIM1 gene increased the risk of being susceptible to ED by 26%.
While genetic factors have long been suspected as a reason for at least one-third of ED cases, until now researchers have always failed to link it with any specific genomic locations.
“Identifying this SIM1 locus as a risk factor for erectile dysfunction is a big deal because it provides the long sought-after proof that there is a genetic component to the disease,” said the study’s lead author, Eric Jorgenson, PhD, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, a health care service provider in the US. “Identifying the first genetic risk factor for erectile dysfunction is an exciting discovery because it opens the door for investigations into new, genetic-based therapies.”
About half of all men who experience erectile dysfunction don’t respond to current treatments. Therefore, the finding may aid the development of new treatments for ED.
Additionally, along with better treatments, the findings may also help come up with,”prevention approaches for the men and their partners, who often suffer silently with this condition,” according to Dr. Hunter Wessells, chair of urology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, a co-author and one of the study’s principal investigators.