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Urology. 1998 May;51(5A Suppl):110-20.

Characterization of the cell-specific expression of parathyroid hormone-related protein in normal and neoplastic prostate tissue.

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Department of Urology, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York 14642, USA.



Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is a primary factor in the pathogenesis of malignancy-associated hypercalcemia. By alternative splicing, the human PTHrP gene can generate three different species of mRNA that encode three initial translational isoforms of 139, 173, and 141 amino acids. We recently reported that PTHrP was present in normal prostatic neuroendocrine cells and was overexpressed in prostate cancer tissue as demonstrated by immunostaining. This study was undertaken to further clarify the complex expression of PTHrP gene in normal prostate tissue and prostate cancer.


PTHrP mRNA in samples prepared from normal prostate tissue, prostate cancer, and three prostate cancer cell lines, PC3, LNCaP, and DU145 was assessed using Northern hybridization. Expressed PTHrP isoforms were deduced from differential reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays with exon-specific primers. Further localization of different species of PTHrP mRNA was performed using nonradioactive in situ hybridization with exon-specific probes on consecutive sections of normal and neoplastic prostate tissue.


Northern hybridization showed that the PTHrP expression level was higher in prostate cancer than in normal prostate tissue. All three PTHrP isoforms could be detected in normal prostate tissues and prostate cancer with differential RT-PCR. Further analysis using in situ hybridization with exon-specific probes revealed that all three PTHrP isoforms were present in prostatic neuroendocrine cells and only PTHrP-1-139 isoform could be clearly detected in prostate cancer tissue. Two androgen-insensitive cell lines, PC3 and DU145, derived from a bone metastasis and a brain metastasis, respectively, expressed all three mRNA species encoding for the three isoforms, but DU145 cells expressed less than PC3 cells. Androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells exhibited a low level of expression of mRNA species encoding for PTHrP-1-139 and PTHrP-1-173, and no expression of PTHrP1-141 isoform.


All three initial translational isoforms of PTHrP are produced by prostatic neuroendocrine cells. The mature products of PTHrP might exert their effects on other prostatic epithelial cells in a paracrine fashion and also participate in the homeostatic regulation of the ejaculate. In prostate cancer, differential expression of these three isoforms is evident and PTHrP-1-139 isoform is more abundant than the other two forms. These findings are valuable for designing future research studies to further elucidate the biological functions of PTHrP in normal prostatic glands and prostate cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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