Urinary Tract

Volume 2011 of the series Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology pp 527-542


Cyclic Nucleotide Metabolism Including Nitric Oxide and Phosphodiesterase-Related Targets in the Lower Urinary Tract

  • Stefan ÜckertAffiliated withDivision of Surgery, Department of Urology and Urological Oncology, Hannover Medical SchoolUrological Research Unit, Institute for Biochemical Research & Analysis Email author 
  • , Markus A. KuczykAffiliated withDivision of Surgery, Department of Urology and Urological Oncology, Hannover Medical School

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The clinical data on the use of the orally active phosphodiesterase (PDE) type 5 inhibitors sildenafil (VIAGRA™), vardenafil (LEVITRA™), and tadalafil (CIALIS™) for the treatment of male erectile dysfunction have boosted research activities on the physiology and pharmacology of the organs of the lower urinary tract (LUT). This includes both intracellular signal transduction in the prostate, urinary bladder (detrusor), and urethra, as well as central brain and spinal cord pathways controlling the function of the LUT. Such efforts provided the basis for the development of new therapeutic modalities into themanagement of dysfunctions/ syndromes of the LUT, some of which are already offered to the patients. The pharmacological treatment of the overactive bladder and the so-called benign prostatic syndrome, including LUT symptomatology and bladder outlet obstruction secondary to benign prostatic enlargement, has primarily focused on selective, orally available drugs acting by influencing intracellular regulatory mechanisms. These agents are regarded efficacious, have a fast onset of drug action in the target tissue and an improved effect-to-side-effect ratio. Better understanding of the functional significance of proteins related to cyclic nucleotide-dependent pathways, such as nitric oxide synthase, cytosolic and membrane-bound guanylyl cyclases, PDE isoenzymes and cyclic AMP- and cyclic GMP-binding protein kinases, the relative distribution in tissues of the LUT, and the consequences for urogenital function, seems to be of particular interest in order to identify new or more selective pharmacological approaches to manage disorders of the LUT. The present review focuses on cyclic nucleotide-related targets involved in the control of the function of the bladder, prostate, and urethra and the significance of those proteins in the process of evolving new pharmacological options for the treatment of LUT symptoms secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia as well as dysfunctions of the storage and voiding capability of the urinary bladder.


Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP) Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cyclic GMP) Lower urinary tract Nitric oxide (NO) Pharmacotherapy