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Prostate. 1999 Oct 1;41(2):99-109.

In situ hybridization study of PSP94 (prostatic secretory protein of 94 amino acids) expression in human prostates.

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Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.



The prostatic secretory protein of 94 amino acids (PSP94), also named beta-microseminoprotein, is one of the major proteins secreted by the human prostate. However, its value as a prognostic marker for prostate cancers is still under debate. The aim of the present study was to examine the expression pattern of this protein in fetal, pubertal, and aged human prostates.


Nonisotopic in situ hybridization using a digoxigenin-labeled riboprobe for PSP94 and immunohistochemistry were used to demonstrate the expression of PSP94 in different regions or zones of fetal, pubertal, and adult human prostates. Its localization pattern was also compared with those of two other major secretory proteins, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), by immunohistochemistry.


PSP94 mRNA and its protein were localized to the secretory epithelium of normal pubertal and adult human prostates. No hybridization signal and immunoreactivity of PSP94 were seen in fetal prostates at 6-7 months of gestation, whereas some glandular cells were positive to PSA and PAP immunostainings. In the adult prostates, PSP94 expression was intense in the acini in the peripheral zone, less intense in the transition zone, and variable in the central zone. Such a zonal expression pattern was more apparent in the pubertal prostates. However, no obvious differential expression pattern was observed in the immunohistochemistry of PAP and PSA, which showed a uniform staining of the secretory epithelia of the acini in all anatomic zones. The hybridization signals and immunoreactivity of PSP94 became reduced or lost in premalignant prostatic intraepithelial neoplastic lesions and different grades of prostatic carcinomas.


Fetal prostates at 6-7 months of gestation already synthesize PSA and PAP but not PSP94. The delayed expression of PSP94 appears to correlate with the development of the prostate gland. A differential expression pattern of PSP94 is demonstrated in different anatomical zones, showing that this protein is more expressed and synthesized in the acini in the peripheral zone than in the central and transition zones. However, such a zonal pattern is not seen in the immunohistochemistry of PSA and PAP. The present study also shows that PSP94 is downregulated in different grades of prostate cancers.

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