Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
On-line version ISSN 1414-431X
GARCIA-FLOREZ, M.; OLIVEIRA, C.A. and CARVALHO, H.F.. Early effects of estrogen on the rat ventral prostate. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2005, vol.38, n.4, pp. 487-497. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2005000400002.
Complex interactions between androgen and estrogen (E2) regulate prostatic development and physiology. We analyzed the early effects of a high single dose of E2 (25 mg/kg body weight) and castration (separately or combined) on the adult 90-day-old male Wistar rat ventral prostate. Androgen levels, prostate weight, and the variation in the relative and absolute volume of tissue compartments and apoptotic indices were determined for 7 days. Castration and exogenous E2 markedly reduced ventral prostate weight (about 50% of the control), with a significant reduction in the epithelial compartment and increased stroma. The final volume of the epithelium was identical at day 7 for all treatments (58.5% of the control). However, E2 had an immediate effect, causing a reduction in epithelial volume as early as day 1. An increase in smooth muscle cell volume resulted from the concentration of these cells around the regressing epithelium. The treatments resulted in differential kinetics in epithelial cell apoptosis. Castration led to a peak in apoptosis at day 3, with 5% of the epithelial cells presenting signs of apoptosis, whereas E2 caused an immediate increase (observed on day 1) and a sustained (up to day 7) effect. E2 administration to castrated rats significantly increased the level of apoptosis by day 3, reaching 9% of the epithelial cells. The divergent kinetics between treatments resulted in the same levels of epithelial regression after 7 days (~30% of control). These results show that E2 has an immediate and possibly direct effect on the prostate, and anticipates epithelial cell death before reducing testosterone to levels as low as those of castrated rats. In addition, E2 and androgen deprivation apparently cause epithelial cell death by distinct and independent pathways.
Keywords : Apoptosis; Estrogen; Prostate; Stereology; Tissue kinetics.