Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibition Reverts Prostate Fibroblast-To-Myofibroblast Trans-Differentiation
Zenzmaier C, Kern J, Sampson N, Heitz M, Plas E, Untergasser G, Berger P. Endocrinology. 2012 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]


Institute for Biomedical Aging Research (C.Z., N.S., M.H., P.B.), Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Tumor Biology and Angiogenesis Laboratory (J.K., G.U.), Department of Internal Medicine V, Innsbruck Medical University, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria; and Department of Urology (E.P.), Hanusch Hospital, 1140 Vienna, Austria.


Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors have been demonstrated to improve lower urinary tract symptoms secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Because BPH is primarily driven by fibroblast-to-myofibroblast trans-differentiation, this study aimed to evaluate the potential of the PDE5 inhibitor vardenafil to inhibit and reverse trans-differentation of primary human prostatic stromal cells (PrSC). Vardenafil, sodium nitroprusside, lentiviral-delivered short hairpin RNA-mediated PDE5 knockdown, sodium orthovanadate, and inhibitors of MAPK kinase, protein kinase G, Ras homolog family member (Rho) A, RhoA/Rho kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase and protein kinase B (AKT) were applied to PrSC treated with basic fibroblast growth factor (fibroblasts) or TGFβ1 (myofibroblasts) in vitro, in chicken chorioallantoic membrane xenografts in vivo, and to prostatic organoids ex vivo. Fibroblast-to-myofibroblast trans-differentiation was monitored by smooth muscle cell actin and IGF binding protein 3 mRNA and protein levels. Vardenafil significantly attenuated TGFβ1-induced PrSC trans-differentiation in vitro and in chorioallantoic membrane xenografts. Enhancement of nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling by vardenafil, sodium nitroprusside, or PDE5 knockdown reduced smooth muscle cell actin and IGF binding protein 3 mRNA and protein levels and restored fibroblast-like morphology in trans-differentiated myofibroblast. This reversal of trans-differentiation was not affected by MAPK kinase, protein kinase G, RhoA, or RhoA/Rho kinase inhibition, but vardenafil attenuated phospho-AKT levels in myofibroblasts. Consistently, phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase or AKT inhibition induced reversal of trans-differentiation, whereas the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor sodium orthovanadate abrogated the effect of vardenafil. Treatment of prostatic organoids with vardenafil ex vivo reduced expression of myofibroblast markers, indicating reverse remodeling of stroma towards a desired higher fibroblast/myofibroblast ratio. Thus, enhancement of the nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling pathway by vardenafil attenuates and reverts fibroblast-to-myofibroblast trans-differentiation, hypothesizing that BPH patients might benefit from long-term therapy with PDE5 inhibitors.