Prostatic luminal cell differentiation and prostatic steroid-binding protein (PBP) gene expression are differentially affected by neonatal castration

Lynn Janulis*, Jeffrey A. Nemeth, Tony Yang, Sharon Lang, Chung Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Although normal prostatic development is androgen-dependent, the prostate continues to grow in the neonate despite castration. However, the manner in which neonatal growth of the prostate occurs, in the absence of the testis, remains largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the differentiation of prostatic epithelial cells after neonatal castration. METHODS. Immunohistochemistry was utilized to detect the expression of differentiation products: basal-cell cytokeratin (CK 5), luminal-cell cytokeratin (CK 18), and prostatic steroid-binding protein (PBP), a ventral prostate-specific marker indicative of secretory function in luminal cells. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used to detect transcription products of the three polypeptide subunits of PBP, designated C1, C2, and C3. Rats were castrated on day 5 after birth, and ventral prostates were collected on day 14. Dihydrotestosterone was injected (100 μg/animal every 2 days) in castrated animals to determine if PBP expression could be initiated by androgen. RESULTS. Although no major effects of castration were detected on the differentiation of stromal or basal cells (which differentiate prior to day 5), castration had a pronounced effect on luminal-cell differentiation. Castration inhibited PBP protein expression, but did not affect the expression of luminal-cell cytokeratin (CK 18) protein. Furthermore, castration reduced C1, C2, and C3 transcription. Androgen replacement to castrated animals allowed for the initiation of PBP expression, although its onset was delayed. CONCLUSIONS. These observations indicate that the testis is not necessary for prostatic luminal-cell differentiation, but is necessary for full expression of luminal-cell secretory phenotype. Furthermore, our study suggests that factors of testicular origin, in addition to androgen, are needed for proper timing of PBP expression. This investigation establishes that the cytological and the physiological differentiation of the rat prostate are differentially regulated. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Castration
  • Differentiation
  • Luminal cells
  • PBP
  • Prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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