Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its death receptor (DR5) in Peyronie’s disease. A biomolecular study of apoptosis activation

J Sex Med 2011; 8: 109-115.

Introduction: Peyronie’s disease (PD) is a connective tissue disorder of tunica albuginea (TA), a thick fibrous sheath surrounding the corpora cavernosa of the penis. Relatively, little is known about the disease itself. AIM: To investigate whether the apoptosis cascade in degenerated and macroscopically deformed TA from men with PD is activated through the extrinsic pathway, by assessing the immunoexpression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and its death receptor, DR5.

Methods: TA plaques from 15 men with PD and from four unaffected men were processed for TRAIL and DR5 immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis.

Main outcome measures: A greater understanding of the pathophysiology of PD through a molecular approach, to gain insights that may lead to novel forms of treatment.

Results: Activation of the apoptosis mechanisms through the extrinsic pathway was demonstrated by TRAIL and DR5 overexpression in fibroblasts and myofibroblasts from affected TA.

Conclusion: The finding that apoptosis activation in TA plaques occurs, at least in part, via the extrinsic pathway may help devise novel therapeutic options for these patients.