Increased androgen receptor expression correlates with development of age-dependent, lobe-specific spontaneous hyperplasia of the brown Norway rat prostate.
AIMS The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of testosterone treatment on the proliferation index and the mRNA expression levels of 5α-reductase, CYP7B1, androgen receptor (AR), and estrogen receptor β (ΕRβ) in the canine prostate. MAIN METHODS Immature dogs were treated with testosterone for one month, after which prostate gland growth was assessed by comparing the proliferation index in prostates from testosterone-treated dogs with that of untreated control dogs. The relative mRNA expression levels of the aforementioned genes in the prostate glands of testosterone-treated and untreated dogs were determined by real time PCR. KEY FINDINGS Testosterone treatment induced a highly significant reduction in proliferation index in prostate gland. This inhibition of prostate gland growth was associated with differential mRNA expression of 5α-reductase, CYP7B1, AR, and ΕRβ by the prostate gland of testosterone-treated dogs, as compared to that of untreated dogs. While the expression levels of 5α-reductase and CYP7B1 mRNA were significantly down-regulated by testosterone treatment, the expression level of ER-β mRNA was highly up-regulated. In contrast, AR mRNA expression was not significantly altered. SIGNIFICANCE Prostate gland proliferation appeared to be associated with the expression levels of genes that encode proteins that control intra-prostatic levels of testosterone metabolites and their respective receptors. Testosterone treatment may regulate gene expression in the prostate to generate a phenotype that suppresses growth-promoting signaling through AR and enhances anti-proliferative signaling through ERβ. Therefore, targeting disturbances of this genetic machinery in benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer is of a therapeutic potential.