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To validate the spontaneous hypertensive rat (SHR) model for basic research into benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), and to assess doxazosin-induced changes in prostatic structure and apoptotic status.Four groups of rats were assessed: group 1, 15 SHRs treated with doxazosin; group 2, 14 SHRs with unilateral excision of the major pelvic ganglion; group 3, 14 untreated SHRs; and group 4, 16 intact Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. The doxazosin mesylate (0.03 mg daily) was given compacted in rat food for 3 months. The prostatic ventral lobe (VL) was excised and weighed. Stereological light microscopy, multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of prostate caspases, and caspase-3 activity (cellular enzymatic assay) were assessed.There was more development of the glandular epithelium (P < 0.001) in SHR rats than in controls, which was even greater after doxazosin exposure (P = 0.027). SHR animals had higher caspase expression (P < 0.05) and activity (P = 0.008) than WKY rats, but both were reduced after doxazosin therapy (P < 0.01 and 0.028, respectively).This study confirmed prostate hyperplasia in the SHR model. Doxazosin exposure did not reduce the volume of glandular epithelium and contributed to protecting against caspase-induced apoptosis. The SHR model may be not a valid option to study doxazosin-induced apoptosis in BPH.