Contractility and pacemaker cells in the prostate gland

Dan-Thanh Nguyen, Anupa Dey, Richard Lang, Sabatino Ventura, Betty Exintaris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We focused on the current opinion on mechanisms generating stromal tone in the prostate gland. Materials and Methods: We selected the guinea pig as the main species for investigation since its prostate has a high proportion of smooth muscle that undergoes age related changes similar in many respects to that in humans. The main techniques that we used were tension recording and electrophysiology. Results: We previously reported distinct electrical activity and cell types in the prostate, and speculated on their functional roles. We believe that a specialized group of c-kit immunoreactive prostatic interstitial cells that lie between glandular epithelium and smooth muscle stroma have a role similar to that of gastrointestinal interstitial cells of Cajal, generating the pacemaker signal that manifests as slow wave activity and triggers contraction in smooth muscle cells in guinea pig prostates. Conclusions: Since changes in muscle tone are involved in the etiology of age dependent prostate specific conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, knowledge of the electrical properties of the various prostatic cell types and their interactions with each other, with nerves and with the hormonal environment, and how these factors change with age is of considerable medical importance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347 - 351
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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