Prostatic epithelial cells undergo rapid proliferation and lose their ability to synthesize and secrete prostate‐specific antigen (PSA) and prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) under standard tissue culture conditions. Herein, we compared the morphology, growth, secretory activity, and intermediate filament expression of human prostatic epithelial cells cultured on either standard tissue culture plastic or reconstituted basement membrane. Epithelial cells grown on plastic exhibited a 10‐fold increase in proliferation and a higher percentage of cells in the S‐phase of the cell cycle compared to cells cultured on basement membrane. However, cells grown on basement membrane secreted markedly higher levels of PSA and PAP. The basement membrane‐induced enhancement of secretory activity was potentiated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and prostate stromal cell conditioned medium. Morphological studies showed that cells plated on basement membrane formed organoid‐like clusters and maintained several aspects of differentiated epithelium including abundant secretory vesicles, microvilli, and desmosomes with associated cytoskeletal elements. Cultivation of epithelial cells on basement membrane components also suppressed the expression of vimentin, a mesenchymal intermediate filament polypeptide. However, cytokeratin expression was abnormal in cells grown on either surface. These results indicate that the differentiated properties of prostatic epithelial cells are promoted by cultivation on reconstituted basement membrane in the presence of DHT and stromal cell conditioned medium.
- intermediate filaments
ASJC Scopus subject areas