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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Feb 1;91(3):1074-8.

Keratinocyte growth factor functions in epithelial induction during seminal vesicle development.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Development of the seminal vesicle (SV) is elicited by androgens and is dependent on epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Androgenic signal transmission from the androgen-receptor-positive mesenchyme to the epithelium has been postulated to involve paracrine factors. Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), a member of the fibroblast growth factor family, is produced by stromal/mesenchymal cells and acts specifically on epithelial cells. The KGF transcript was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in newborn mouse SVs and by Northern blot analysis of RNA from cultured neonatal SV mesenchymal cells. Newborn SVs placed in organ culture undergo androgen-dependent growth and differentiation. Addition of a KGF-neutralizing monoclonal antibody to this system caused striking inhibition of both SV growth and branching morphogenesis. This inhibition was due to a decline in epithelial proliferation and differentiation, as the mesenchymal layer was not affected by anti-KGF treatment. When KGF (100 ng/ml) was substituted for testosterone in the culture medium, SV growth was approximately 50% that observed with an optimal dose of testosterone (10(-7) M). All of these findings suggest that KGF is present during a time of active SV morphogenesis and functions as an important mediator of androgen-dependent development.

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