Prostate Stroma Increases the Viability and Maintains the Branching Phenotype of Human Prostate Organoids

Zachary Richards, Tara McCray, Joseph Marsili, Morgan L. Zenner, Jacob T. Manlucu, Jason Garcia, Andre Kajdacsy-Balla, Marcus Murray, Cindy Voisine, Adam B. Murphy, Sarki A. Abdulkadir, Gail S. Prins, Larisa Nonn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The fibromuscular stroma of the prostate regulates normal epithelial differentiation and contributes to carcinogenesis in vivo. We developed and characterized a human 3D prostate organoid co-culture model that incorporates prostate stroma. Primary prostate stromal cells increased organoid formation and directed organoid morphology into a branched acini structure similar to what is observed in vivo. Organoid branching occurred distal to physical contact with stromal cells, demonstrating non-random branching. Stroma-induced phenotypes were similar in all patients examined, yet they maintained inter-patient heterogeneity in the degree of response. Stromal cells expressed growth factors involved in epithelial differentiation, which was not observed in non-prostatic fibroblasts. Organoids derived from areas of prostate cancer maintained differential expression of alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase and showed increased viability and passaging when co-cultured with stroma. The addition of stroma to epithelial cells in vitro improves the ability of organoids to recapitulate features of the tissue and enhances the viability of organoids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-317
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Feb 22 2019


  • Bioengineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Cell Biology
  • Tissue Engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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