Despite limited human data, there is a growing interest in the use of stem cell therapy (SCT) for erectile dysfunction (ED).
To determine the effect of transendocardial stem cell injection on erectile function on men with cardiomyopathy and ED.
We used International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores collected from men enrolled in 3 separate randomized controlled trials: Comparison of Allogeneic vs Autologous Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Delivered by Transendocardial Injection in Patients With Ischemic Cardiomyopathy (POSEIDON), Transendocardial Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Mononuclear Bone Marrow Cells for Ischemic Cardiomyopathy (TAC-HFT), and Dose Comparison Study of Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Patients With Ischemic Cardiomyopathy (TRIDENT). These trials recruited patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy and ejection fraction less than 50%. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were identical in all 3 trials. The primary intervention in these trials included transendocardial stem cell injection of stem cells or placebo via cardiac catheterization. The follow-up period was 1 year. IIEF data were collected at baseline and at multiple time points in each trial.
We investigated erectile function over time based on cell dose, cell source (autologous vs allogenic), cell type (mesenchymal stem cells vs bone marrow mononuclear cells), and comparing men who received SCT with those who received placebo.
A total of 36 men were identified with complete IIEF data. 8 men received placebo injection, and 28 received SCT. The median age was 66.5 years. Comorbidities were similar among all men. Analysis was performed on men with ED, defined by an IIEF-EF score of 24 or less. In the placebo and all-comer SCT group, the median IIEF-EF score was 5 [1-8] and 5 [1-15] at baseline and was 3.5 [3-5.8] and 7 [1-18] at 12 months (P > .05). When analyzed by cell dose, the IIEF-EF score in men who received 200 million cells increased significantly over 12 months (14 [4-23] to 20 [15-24.5], P = .014.) Similarly, an autologous cell source resulted in a similar increase from baseline to 12 months (14 [3.8-23.3] to 20 [12-22], P = .030).
Erectile function may improve after systemic delivery of SCT in men with ischemic cardiomyopathy and at least mild ED.
This post hoc analysis is the first to investigate the effect of SCT on erectile function using randomized, placebo-controlled data. Weaknesses include that ED was not a primary end point, and men were not originally recruited based on erectile function.
Future trials on systemic delivery of SCT for ED should focus on high cell dose and autologous cell source, as these seem to provide the best response in men with at least mild ED. Ory J, Saltzman RG, Blachman-Braun R, et al. The Effect of Transendocardial Stem Cell Injection on Erectile Function in Men With Cardiomyopathy: Results From the TRIDENT, POSEIDON, and TAC-HFT Trials. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

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