Author(s): Schmelz M, Moll R, Hesse U, Prasad AR, Gandolfi JA,
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Abstract Stem cells of the human prostate gland have not yet been identified utilizing a structural biomarker. We have discovered a new prostatic epithelial cell phenotype-expressing cytokeratin 6a (Ck6a+ cells). The Ck6a+ cells are present within a specialized niche in the basal cell compartment in fetal, juvenile and adult prostate tissue, and within the stem cell-enriched urogenital sinus. In adult normal prostate tissue, the average abundance of Ck6a+ cells was 4.9\%. With proliferative stimuli in the prostate organ culture model, in which the epithelial-stromal interaction was maintained, a remarkable increase of Ck6a expression was noticed to up to 64.9\%. The difference in cytokeratin 6a expression between the normal adult prostate and the prostate organ culture model was statistically significant (p<0.0001). Within the prostate organ culture model the increase of cytokeratin 6a-expressing cells significantly correlated with increased proliferation index (r = 0.7616, p = 0.0467). The Ck6a+ cells were capable of differentiation as indicated by their expression of luminal cell markers such as ZO-1 and prostate specific antigen (PSA). Our data indicate that Ck6a+ cells represent a prostatic epithelial stem cell candidate possessing high potential for proliferation and differentiation. Since the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate carcinogenesis are disorders of proliferation and differentiation, the Ck6a+ cells may represent a major element in the development of these diseases.
This article was published in Eur J Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy