New research reveals that artificial tissue reverses erectile dysfunction in the pig’s penis

Researchers in China have partially reversed erectile dysfunction in pigs with a synthetic tissue that repairs wounds, an advancement that could lead to better ways to treat penile injuries in humans.

In mammals, the tunica albuginea (TA) tissue in the penis is characterized by a bilayer structure composed of collagen protein fibers that straighten and stretch during erection, mediating the transition from soft to hard.

Previous research suggests that about half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 experience some form of erectile dysfunction, and about 5 percent suffer from a condition where scar tissue forms in the TA tissue, causing pain and a range of other effects.

The artificial tunica albuginea (ATA), described in a new study published Wednesday in the journal Matter, mimics the natural fibrous sheath of tissue necessary to maintain an erection.

“We have seen that this is an area that has received little attention, but the need for it is huge,” study co-author Xuetao Shi of South China University of Technology said in a statement.

“We largely anticipated the problems and results of the ATA building process, but were still surprised by the results of animal experiments where the penis regained its normal erection immediately after using the ATA,” said Dr. Shi.

The researchers tested an ATA made of polyvinyl alcohol – which has a twisted fiber structure and biomechanical properties similar to natural tissue – on miniature Bama pigs with TA injuries.

They analyzed the toxicity and compatibility of the artificial tissue with blood, as it was designed to stay in the body for a long time.

Scientists have discovered that patches made of artificial tissue can restore erections in pigs.

The pigs’ erectile function was restored to be similar to normal penile tissue, suggesting that the patch could successfully replace the function of the natural tissues.

When the effects of the ATA patches were analyzed after a month, it turned out that a normal erection was achieved after injecting saline into the penis.

They also found that although the artificial tissue did not restore the microstructure of the surrounding natural tissue, scars were produced comparable to normal tissue.

“Results one month after surgery showed that the ATA group achieved good, though not perfect, repair results,” said Dr. Shi.

In further research, researchers hope to consider repairing a general penile defect or building an artificial penis from a holistic perspective.

“ATA demonstrates the ability to repair injuries and restore normal erectile function of penile tissue damaged by TA in a pig model. Our study shows that ATA holds great promise in repairing penile injuries,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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