Targeting androgen receptor to suppress macrophage-induced EMT and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) development.Mol Endocrinol 2012; 26(10):1707-15ME
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.