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J Androl. 2011 May-Jun;32(3):210-7. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.110.011577. Epub 2010 Oct 7.

Genetic regulation of prostate development.

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Department of Urology, Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Prostatic development is a dynamic process in which basic mechanisms of epithelial outgrowth and epithelial-mesenchymal interaction are initiated by androgens and androgen receptor signaling. Even in adulthood, the prostate's function remains tightly regulated by androgens--without them, pathologic diseases, including hyperplastic and malignant growth that together plague nearly 50% of aging males, do not occur. Unraveling the etiology of these pathologic processes is a complex and important goal. In fact, many insights into these processes have come from an intimate understanding of the complex signaling networks that regulate physiologic prostatic growth in development. This review aims to highlight important key molecules such as Nkx3.1, sonic hedgehog, and Sry box 9, as well as key signaling pathways including the fibroblast growth factor and wingless pathways. These molecules and pathways are critical for prostate development with both known and postulated roles in prostatic pathology.

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