Mesenchymal epithelial interactions are believed to be important to the growth and development of the neonatal prostate. Prior studies in the rat ventral prostate, using autoradiography and tritiated dihydrotestosterone, indicate that androgen receptors are present in the prostatic stroma on day 3 and are detected in the epithelium by the tenth postnatal day. These findings suggested that androgen stimulation of the prostatic mesenchyme is a crucial step in the growth and development of the prostate. We have examined this developmental program directly using polyclonal antibodies that recognize specific epitopes of the androgen receptor to examine the pattern of androgen receptor expression in intact and neonatally castrate animals. In keeping with previous studies, androgen receptors are present in the prostate stroma at birth and subsequently appear in the prostatic epithelium by the 10th postnatal day. Development of androgen receptor expression in the epithelium was not changed when the animals were castrated at birth, castrated and blocked by flutamide, or castrated and given hydrocortisone to suppress the production of adrenal androgens. These findings suggest that the appearance of androgen receptors in the prostatic epithelium is programmed by androgens before birth or that factors other than testicular or adrenal androgens control the development of epithelial androgen receptors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas