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ASRM: Steroidogenic Proteins Expressed in Prostate, Penis

Last Updated: October 20, 2011.

Steroidogenic proteins, p450scc, 3β-HSD, and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, are expressed in the prostate gland and penile tissue of humans, according to an experimental study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, held from Oct. 15 to 19 in Orlando, Fla.

THURSDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Steroidogenic proteins, p450scc, 3β-HSD, and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), are expressed in the prostate gland and penile tissue of humans, according to an experimental study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, held from Oct. 15 to 19 in Orlando, Fla.

Kathleen Hwang, M.D., from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues investigated the steroidogenic potential of genital tract tissues by assessing expression of p450scc, 3β-HSD, and StAR. Murine tissue samples of testes, adrenal gland, penis, and prostate were obtained from two 12-week-old c57Bl/6 mice, and the tissue expression of these proteins was evaluated using immunohistochemistry. Protein expression was analyzed using microscopy. Expression was also analyzed in commercial human benign prostate tissue slides and penile tissues from patients undergoing penile implant surgery.

The investigators identified positive expression of p450scc, 3β-HSD, and StAR in the testes and adrenal gland. Selected corpora cavernosal cells and cells of the tunica and prostate gland from mouse and human tissues displayed expression of p450scc. All three proteins were expressed in human prostate and penile tissue.

"Surprisingly, expression of 3β-HSD, p450scc and StAR were also confirmed in the normal prostate gland (without evidence of cancer) and penile tissue, suggesting that both of these organs may produce androgens that could act locally during normal male genitourinary tract function in male mice and human tissue," the authors write.

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