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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 31;104(31):12679-84. Epub 2007 Jul 25.

Increased prostate cell proliferation and loss of cell differentiation in mice lacking prostate epithelial androgen receptor.

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George Whipple Laboratory for Cancer Research, Departments of Pathology and Urology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14620, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Oct 23;104(43):17240.


Developmental studies of the prostate have established that ductal morphogenesis, epithelial cytodifferentiation, and proliferation/apoptosis are regulated by androgens acting through stromal androgen receptor (AR). Here, we found mice lacking epithelial AR within the mature prostate (pes-ARKO) developed prostate tissue that was less differentiated and hyperproliferative relative to WT littermates. Epithelial AR protein was significantly decreased in 6-week-old mice and was nearly absent by >/=24 weeks of age. Circulating levels of testosterone, external genitalia, or fertility were not altered in pes-ARKO mice. A significant (P < 0.05) increase in bromo-deoxyuridine-positive epithelia was observed in ventral and dorsal-lateral prostates of pes-ARKO mice at 24 weeks of age. Less differentiation was observed as indicated by decreased epithelial height and glandular infolding through 24 weeks of age, differentiation markers probasin, PSP-94, and Nkx3.1 were sig nificantly decreased, and epithelial sloughing and luminal cell apoptosis increased from 6 to 32 weeks of age in pes-ARKO mice. Gain of function occurred by crossing pes-ARKO to the T857A transgenic mice containing constitutively activated AR. In T857A-pes-ARKO mice prostates were of normal size, contained glandular infoldings, and maintained high secretory epithelium, and the appropriate prostatic epithelial proliferation was restored. Collectively, these results suggest that prostatic epithelial AR plays an important role in the homeostasis of the prostate gland. These data support the hypothesis that epithelial AR controls prostate growth by suppressing epithelial proliferation in the mature gland.

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