A K(ATP)-channel opener as a potential treatment modality for erectile dysfunction

D. G. Moon, H. S. Byun, J. J. Kim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives. To assess the effects of pinacidil (a K(ATP)-channel opener) for the treatment of penile erectile dysfunction and to examine the role of the K+-channel in cavernosal smooth muscle contractility. Materials and methods. Using a feline model, the magnitude of penile erection caused by pinacidil was compared with that caused by erectogenic drugs, e.g. acetylcholine, prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and L-arginine. The effects of K+-channel blockers (4-aminopyridine, glibenclamide and tetraethylammonium) and pinacidil on penile erections induced by the drugs were investigated. Results. The intra-arterial injection of pinacidil caused a dose-dependent increase in intracavernosal pressure (ICP) and the increase in ICP induced by pinacidil with acetylcholine, PGE1 or L-arginine was more pronounced than with the compounds alone. Furthermore, pinacidil (1 mmol/L) effectively reversed the inhibitory effects of the K+-channel blockers on the cavernosal relaxation induced by acetylcholine, PGE1 or L-arginine (P < 0.01). Notably, pinacidil induced cavernosal relaxation after injecting the drugs even in cases refractory to higher concentrations (0.1 mol/L) of the drugs (n = 11, P < 0.01). Conclusions. These results suggest that pinacidil is effective in relaxing feline erectile tissue in vivo, probably via increased K+ permeability and subsequent hyperpolarization. Further comparative studies with erectogenic compounds on human erectile tissue and clinical testing are required to determine whether K+-channel openers can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, pinacidil seems promising as an intracavernosal agent combined with PGE1 to produce synergistic effects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)837-841
    Number of pages5
    JournalBJU International
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


    • Erectile dysfunction
    • K channels
    • Pinacidil
    • Therapy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Urology


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