Targeting Androgen Receptor to Suppress Macrophage-induced EMT and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) Development
Lu T, Lin WJ, Izumi K, Wang X, Xu D, Fang LY, Li L, Jiang Q, Jin J, Chang C. Mol Endocrinol. 2012 Aug 21. [Epub ahead of print]


George Whipple Laboratory for Cancer Research (T.L., W.-J.L., K.I., X.W., D.X., L.-Y.F., L.L., Q.J., C.C.), Departments of Pathology, Urology, and Radiation Oncology, and The Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642; Institute of Urology (T.L., J.J.), Peking University First Hospital, Peking University, Beijing 100034, China; and Sex Hormone Research Center (C.C.), China Medical University/Hospital, Taichung 404, Taiwan.


Early studies suggested macrophages might play roles in inflammation-associated benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) development, yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we first showed that CD68(+) macrophages were identified in both epithelium and the stromal area of human BPH tissues. We then established an in vitro co-culture model with prostate epithelial and macrophage cell lines to study the potential impacts of infiltrating macrophages in the BPH development and found that co-culturing prostate epithelial cells with macrophages promoted migration of macrophages. In a three-dimensional culture system, the sphere diameter of BPH-1 prostate cells was significantly increased during coculture with THP-1 macrophage cells. Mechanism dissection suggested that expression levels of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers, such as N-cadherin, Snail, and TGF-β2, were increased, and administration of anti-TGF-β2 neutralizing antibody during co-culture suppressed the EMT and THP-1-mediated growth of BPH-1 cells, suggesting THP-1 might go through EMT to influence the BPH development and progression. Importantly, we found that modulation of androgen receptor (AR) in BPH-1 and mPrE cells significantly increased THP-1 and RAW264.7 cell migration, respectively, and enhanced expression levels of EMT markers, suggesting that AR in prostate epithelial cells might play a role in promoting macrophage-mediated EMT in prostate epithelial cells. Silencing AR function via an AR degradation enhancer, ASC-J9, decreased the macrophage migration to BPH-1 cells and suppressed EMT marker expression. Together, these results provide the first evidence to demonstrate that prostate epithelial AR function is important for macrophage-mediated EMT and proliferation of prostate epithelial cells, which represents a previously unrecognized role of AR in the cross-talk between macrophages and prostate epithelial cells. These results may provide new insights for a new therapeutic approach to battle BPH via targeting AR and AR-mediated inflammatory signaling pathways.