There is a lack of suitable in vitro models for the human prostate. To study stromal-epithelial interactions, we established stromal cells in cultures from benign and malignant prostate tissue that resemble more closely the in vivo conditions of the human prostate.Materials and Methods
Stromal cells were obtained from explant primary culture, established in DU145 cell conditioned medium and maintained in RPMI-fetal bovine serum (FBS) supplemented with insulin, transferrin and selenium (ITS). Proliferation studies to compare different media were performed using a3 [H]thymidine assay. Stromal cells were characterized by immunocytochemistry using epithelial and mesenchymal markers. Morphology was evaluated by electron microscopy, light and phase-contrast microscopy. Androgen receptor (AR) mRNA expression was measured by polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR). The response to different concentrations of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and the antihormones flutamide and hydroxyflutamide was tested by3 [H] thymidine assay.Results
Microscopic evaluation revealed typical stromal morphology with elongated cell shapes, cilia, collagen and microfilaments. Immunocytochemical characterization revealed typical fibroblastic and smooth muscle differentiation. ITS supplemented in RPMI-FBS showed the best growth stimulation compared with other serum-free media (p <0.05) and became our basal medium. The presence of DU145 cell conditioned medium in this basal medium showed a significant increase in cell proliferation in stromal cells. Stromal cells maintained AR mRNA expression and significant DHT dose dependent growth stimulation in up to 10 passages. Both the antiandrogens flutamide and hydroxyflutamide counteracted the DHT effect (p <0.05).Conclusions
This stromal cell model maintains many cellular and functional properties of the human prostate, which may enable us to study growth factor modulation, drug and hormone metabolism in stromal-epithelial interaction with emphasis on the pathogenesis of BPH and prostate cancer.