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J Intern Med. 2012 Apr;271(4):400-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02487.x. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Prostasomes are mediators of intercellular communication: from basic research to clinical implications.

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Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


Prostasomes are nanosized microvesicles secreted by acinar epithelial cells of the prostate gland. Furthermore, they are intracellular microvesicles inside another larger vesicle, a so-called storage vesicle, equivalent to multivesicular bodies of late endosomal origin. Prostasomes are thought to play an important role in intercellular communication by direct interaction primarily between the immobile acinar cells of the prostate gland and the mobile spermatozoa. Prostasomes transfer not only membrane components but also genetic material to spermatozoa. They are rich in various transferable bioactive molecules (e.g., receptors and enzymes) that promote the fertilizing ability of spermatozoa. In this review, the pleiotropic biological effects of prostasomes that are relevant for successful fertilization will be discussed. The ability to synthesize and export prostasomes to the extracellular space is observed not only in normal prostate epithelial cells but also in malignant prostate cells. Release of prostasomes by prostate cancer cells suggests a role in malignant cell growth and proliferation. These findings may provide new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies.

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