Nerve growth factor signaling following unilateral pelvic ganglionectomy in the rat ventral prostate is age dependent

Carol A. Podlasek*, Rudrani Ghosh, Omer Onur Cakir, Christopher Bond, Kevin E. McKenna, Kevin T. McVary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a serious health concern and is an underlying cause of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in many men. In affected men, LUTS/BPH is believed to result from benign proliferation of the prostate resulting in bladder outlet obstruction. Postnatal growth of the prostate is controlled via growth factor and endocrine mechanisms. However, little attention had been given to the function of the autonomic nervous system in prostate growth and differentiation. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a prostatic mitogen that has a trophic role in autonomic sensory end organ interaction. In this study, we examine how the autonomic nervous system influences prostate growth as a function of age by quantifying NGF in the rat ventral prostate (VP) after pelvic ganglionectomy. Unilateral pelvic ganglionectomy was performed on postnatal days 30 (P30), 60 and 120 Sprague-Dawley rats in comparison to sham controls (n=39). Semiquantitative RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemical analysis for NGF were performed on denervated, intact (contralateral side) and sham control VP 7 days after surgery. Ngf RNA expression was significantly increased in the denervated and intact hyperplastic VP. Western blotting showed age-dependent increases in NGF protein at P60 in the contralateral intact VP. NGF was localized in the nerves, basal cells and columnar epithelium of the prostatic ducts. Denervation causes age-dependent increases in NGF in the VP, which is a potential mechanism by which the autonomic nervous system may regulate prostate growth and lead to BPH/LUTS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-769
Number of pages6
JournalAsian Journal of Andrology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • denervation
  • nerve growth factor
  • prostate growth
  • ventral prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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