Expression and Function of the Progesterone Receptor in Human Prostate Stroma Provide Novel Insights to Cell Proliferation Control

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Like other tissues, the prostate is an admixture of many different cell types that can be segregated into components of the epithelium or stroma. Reciprocal interactions between these 2 types of cells are critical for maintaining prostate homeostasis, whereas aberrant stromal cell proliferation can disrupt this balance and result in diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. Although the androgen and estrogen receptors are relatively well studied for their functions in controlling stromal cell proliferation and differentiation, the role of the progesterone receptor (PR) remains unclear.


The aim of the study was to investigate the expression and function of the PR in the prostate.

Design and Setting:

Human prostate biopsies, renal capsule xenografts, and prostate stromal cells were used. Immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, real-time quantitative PCR, cell proliferation, flow cytometry, and gene microarray analyses were performed.


Two PR isoforms, PRA and PRB, are expressed in prostate stromal fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells, but not in epithelial cells. Both PR isoforms suppress prostate stromal cell proliferation through inhibition of the expression of cyclinA, cyclinB, and cdc25c, thus delaying cell cycling through S and M phases. Gene microarray analyses further demonstrated that PRA and PRB regulated different transcriptomes. However, one of the major gene groups commonly regulated by both PR isoforms was the one associated with regulation of cell proliferation.


PR plays an inhibitory role in prostate stromal cell proliferation.

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