Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Sex drug hope over rotten egg gas

Eggs
Hydrogen sulphide is responsible for the foul smell of rotten eggs

The gas responsible for the foul odour of rotten eggs could hold the key to a new impotence drug, experts believe.

A team from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy found the release of hydrogen sulphide in the penis plays a role in creating an erection.

Researchers said the study could lead to an alternative to Viagra, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal reported.

Erection problems affect about one in 10 men.

This may help to unravel the complex mechanisms underlying the physiology of human penile erection
Professor Giuseppe Cirino, lead researcher

It has been suggested that hydrogen sulphide, which is also found in car exhaust fumes, helps relax nerve cells in the penis to stimulate blood flow.

The process mirrors the earlier discovery of the role played by nitric oxide on a slightly different area of the penis, which eventually led to the development of Viagra.

The researchers tested this theory by injecting the gas into intact erectile tissue from eight men who had undergone sex changes surgery as well as carrying out tests on rats.

Lead researcher Professor Giuseppe Cirino said it seemed certain that the gas was partly responsible for the erection process and this could lead to a new drug.

He added: "This may help to unravel the complex mechanisms underlying the physiology of human penile erection and may lead to the development of therapeutic approaches in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and sexual arousal disorders."

Dr Graham Jackson, chairman of the Sexual Dysfunction Association, said the development of a new impotence drug would be welcome.

"There is certainly a need for an alternative to Viagra. It is only about 60% effective in people with diabetes and 80% to 85% effective for the general population."



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Spider venom could boost sex life
04 May 07 |  Americas
Impotency rub-on gel developed
05 Jul 06 |  Health

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific