Testosterone effect on immature prostate gland development associated with suppression of transforming growth factor-β

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of testosterone treatment on the pattern of prostate cell proliferation and differentiation and their correlation with the expression of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). Prostate gland development was compared in intact immature dogs with one-month testosterone-treated immature dogs. Testosterone treatment resulted in a tenfold increase in prostate gland weight compared to untreated dogs, with a typical organization of the gland into a structure similar to that observed in mature dogs. The narrow acini which contain flat basal cells in immature glands were transformed into tubuloacinar structures containing columnar secretory cells and basal cells. The stromal compartments showed an increase in the muscular component as evidenced by the high reactivity to α-actin with no remarkable changes in the vimentin expression. In addition, testosterone treatment induced a significant reduction in the proliferation capacity of stromal cells but with no noticeable changes in the proliferation pattern of epithelial cells. These changes in the prostate are associated with a twofold decrease in TGF-β mRNA expression as assessed by Real-Time PCR. However, the immunolocalization of TGF-β was shifted slightly from the epithelial cells in untreated animals to the stromal cells of treated animals. Based on these results it appears that testosterone acts to coordinate prostatic cell proliferation and differentiation and direct their organization into a structure resembling that of the mature gland. The testosterone regulation of the prostate gland appears to involve the regulation of TGF-β gene expression.

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