Regional localization of activin-βA, activin-βC, follistatin, proliferation, and apoptosis in adult and developing mouse prostate ducts

Elspeth Gold, Sylvia Zellhuber-McMillan, Gail Risbridger, Francesco Elia Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Activins and inhibins, members of the TGF-β superfamily, are growth and differentiation factors involved in the regulation of several biological processes, including reproduction, development, and fertility. Previous studies have shown that the activin-βA subunit plays a pivotal role in prostate development. Activin-A inhibits branching morphogenesis in the developing prostate, and its expression is associated with increased apoptosis in the adult prostate. Follistatin, a structurally unrelated protein to activins, is an antagonist of activin-A. A balance between endogenous activin-A and follistatin is required to maintain prostatic branching morphogenesis. Deregulation of this balance leads to branching inhibition or excessive branching and increased maturation of the stroma surrounding the differentiating epithelial ducts. Recent work identified another member of the TGF-β superfamily, the activin-βC subunit, as a novel antagonist of activin-A. Over-expression of activin-C (βCC) alters prostate homeostasis, by interfering with the activin-A signaling. The current study characterized the spatiotemporal localization of activin-A, activin-C and follistatin in the adult and developing mouse prostate using immunohistochemical analysis. Results showed activin-C and follistatin are differentially expressed during prostate development and suggested that the antagonistic property of follistatin is secondary to the action of activin-C. In conclusion, the present study provides evidence to support a role of activin-C in prostate development and provides new insights in the spatiotemporal localization of activins and their antagonists during mouse prostate development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalGene Expression Patterns
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Activin
  • Activin-C
  • Development
  • Follistatin
  • Morphogenesis
  • Prostate

Cite this