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J Urol. 1993 Aug;150(2 Pt 1):365-8.

The neuroendocrine cell population of the human prostate gland.

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Department of Anatomical Pathology, (School of Pathology) South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg.


Neuroendocrine cells have been reported in up to 50% of all prostatic adenocarcinomas. These cells appear to influence the prognosis of these tumors. The distribution of the neuroendocrine cell population in the normal prostate gland, through all stages of development, has not been documented previously. We define the distribution of this cell population and describe 4 cellular morphological variants. The neuroendocrine cells of the peripheral zone appear to respond to factors present at birth and at puberty, while those of the periurethral glands and prostatic duct system are not influenced by this factor. It is postulated that this factor may be the levels of circulating androgens. The presence of at least 2 functionally distinct populations of neuroendocrine cells raises the possibility of 2 different embryonic origins. The study documents the distribution of calcitonin-producing cells but fails to detect the presence of somatostatin.

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