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Curr Urol Rep. 2015 Sep;16(9):61. doi: 10.1007/s11934-015-0534-6.

Estrogens and Male Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction.

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Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and associated lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are common clinical problems in urology and affect the majority of men at some time during their lives. The development of BPH/LUTS is associated with an increased ratio of estrogen to androgen levels, and this ratio, when mimicked in a variety of animals, induces BPH and lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTD). While the precise molecular etiology remains unclear, estrogens have been implicated in the development and maintenance of BPH. Numerous endogenous and exogenous estrogens exist in humans. These estrogens act via multiple estrogen receptors to promote or inhibit prostatic hyperplasia and other BPH-associated processes. The prostate is an estrogen target tissue, and estrogens directly and indirectly affect growth and differentiation of prostate. The precise role of estrogen action directly affecting prostate growth and differentiation in the context of BPH is an understudied area and remains to be elucidated. Estrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) have been shown to promote or inhibit prostate proliferation illustrating their potential roles in the development of BPH as therapy. More work will be required to identify estrogen signaling pathways associated with LUTD in order to develop more efficacious drugs for BPH treatment and prevention.

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