Impotence gene discovered

Researchers find genetic risk factor for erectile dysfunction

Lull in the pants? The genes can also be guilty of it. Vchal / istock
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If he "can not" in bed: researchers have for the first time discovered gene variants that make men susceptible to erectile dysfunction. Thus, mutations in a particular genome section on chromosome 6 significantly increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. In the future, this knowledge could lead to a better understanding of the condition and possibly even to new therapies, the team writes.

Millions of men around the world suffer from an erectile dysfunction: their penis does not become stiff enough to actually have intercourse - or it relaxes prematurely on a regular basis. The causes of this ailment called "erectile dysfunction" range from hormonal problems to circulatory disorders that can be promoted by diseases or factors such as overweight and smoking.

In addition, the assessment also plays a role: "Twin studies suggest that about one third of the personal risk is due to genetic factors, " write scientists around Eric Jorgenson from the health insurance company Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. However, specific impotence genes have not been known so far.

Search in the genome

But now Jorgenson and his colleagues have been looking for gene variants that increase the risk of erectile dysfunction in a genome-wide association study - and have found it. For their investigation, they evaluated the genetic data of 36, 649 men from the US and then reviewed these results on another record of 222, 358 British subjects.

It turned out that certain variations at a position close to the so-called SIM1 gene on chromosome 6 appear to be significantly related to potency problems. Accordingly, these gene variants increase the risk of erectile dysfunction by 26 percent - regardless of other risk factors such as obesity. display

Better therapies?

According to the researchers, the SIM1 gene is part of a signaling pathway that is central to sexual function. The genome now identified is not located directly in this genome section. However, as further investigations revealed, he interacts with its promoter - a kind of switch that regulates whether and how the gene is read.

"With our results, we have finally come up with the much sought-after proof that erectile dysfunction actually has a genetic component, " says Jorgenson. The identification of this risk factor could now also open the door for new treatments, so the hope.

"Understanding the mechanisms involved in the gene variants involved enables us to leverage this knowledge to develop better therapies and prevention approaches for the affected men and their partners, Often suffering from the situation, "co-author Hunter Wessells of the University of Washington in Seattle concludes. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1809872115)

(PNAS / Kaiser Permanente, 09.10.2018 - DAL)