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Clin Exp Immunol. 1998 May;112(2):159-65.

Prostatein (or rat prostatic steroid binding protein) is a major autoantigen in experimental autoimmune prostatitis.

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Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.


Experimental autoimmune prostatitis (EAP) is a disease that could be considered an experimental model of human non-bacterial prostatitis. In this experimental model, male rats are intradermally immunized with a saline extract of male sex accessory glands (RAG) in an adequate adjuvant. The prostatitis observed in the immunized animals develops as a consequence of the immune response against RAG antigens, and the histological lesion is strikingly similar to the pattern of prostatic inflammation observed in the human disease. In this study, we purified one of the prostatic autoantigens recognized by the autoantibodies in our model. Amino acid sequence analysis identified the purified protein as prostatein or rat prostatic steroid binding protein, a member of the uteroglobin superfamily. Prostatein was recognized not only by the humoral autoimmune response, but also by the cellular autoimmune response. Certainly, the DTH response and lymph node cell proliferative assays against prostatein in immunized animals yielded positive results. Prostatein is not only the target of the autoimmune response in animals immunized with the whole extract, but also an inducing antigen of the disease. Purified prostatein, when incorporated to an adequate adjuvant, elicited cellular and humoral autoimmune response and lesion in the prostate gland. The identification of one of the target antigens in autoimmune prostatitis has provided a further refinement and characterization of our model, which could serve for a better understanding of the aetiology, pathogenesis and pathophysiology of non-bacterial prostatitis.

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