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Endocrinology. 1999 Dec;140(12):5866-75.

Amphiregulin is coordinately expressed with heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor in the interstitial smooth muscle of the human prostate.

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Department of Urology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Peptide growth factors have been proposed as mediators of smooth muscle-epithelial cell interactions in the human prostate; however, the identity of these molecules has not been established. In this study, we compared expression levels of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) encoding the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor-related receptor tyrosine kinases (ErbB1 through 4), the six EGF receptor ligands, EGF, transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha, amphiregulin (ARG), HB-EGF, betacellulin, and epiregulin, and the related molecule heregulin-alpha, in a series of 10 prostate tissue specimens. Only EGF showed a disease-specific association, with increased mRNA levels in four of five PCa specimens in comparison to matched normal tissue from the same subject. In contrast, ARG and HB-EGF mRNAs showed a coordinate pattern of expression in 7/10 specimens that was distinct from all other growth factor or receptor genes examined and from mRNAs for prostate specific antigen, the androgen receptor and GAPDH, a house-keeping enzyme. Analysis of an additional series of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer specimens from 60 individuals confirmed that ARG and HB-EGF mRNA levels varied in a highly coordinate manner (r = 0.93; P < 0.0001) but showed no association with disease. ARG was immunolocalized largely to interstitial smooth muscle cells (SMC), previously identified as the site of synthesis of HB-EGF in the prostate, while the cognate ARG and HB-EGF receptor, ErbB1, was localized exclusively to ductal epithelial cells and carcinoma cells. Although ARG was a relatively poor mitogen for Balb/c3T3 cells in comparison to HB-EGF, it was similar in potency to HB-EGF in stimulating human prostate epithelial cell growth, suggesting that prostate epithelia may be a physiologic target for ARG in vivo. Expression of both ARG and HB-EGF mRNAs was induced in cultured prostate SMC by fibroblast growth factor-2, a human prostate SMC mitogen linked to prostate disease. These findings indicate that ARG and HB-EGF are likely to be key mediators of directional signaling between SMC and epithelial cells in the human prostate and appear to be coordinately regulated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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