Background: Prostate cancer remains one of the most common cancers in men. Macrophages are thought to be important regulators in cancers, and their potential involvement in prostate cancer should not be overlooked. Therefore, the association between macrophages and the pre-tumorous changes in prostate epithelium during aging deserves further investigation. Objectives: We sought to investigate whether macrophages would be recruited into the prostate epithelium that display pathological lesions commonly found during aging. Materials and methods: Prostates of aging rats, with and without treatment with a combination of testosterone and estradiol, were examined for premalignant and malignant epithelial lesions. For comparison, prostates of castrated rats were also investigated. Results: Intraepithelial macrophages were found restricted to areas of premalignant and malignant lesions. An unprecedented interaction between macrophages and basal cells was observed in the aging pathological lesions. The intraepithelial macrophages were associated with autophagy, in contrast to those found after castration. In prostate lesions, the intraepithelial macrophages had TAM phenotype (CD68+/iNOS+/CD206+/ARG+), denoting a possible involvement in cancer progression. However, M2 macrophages (CD68+/CD163+) were recruited into the epithelium after castration, possibly to phagocytize cells undergoing apoptosis. Discussion and conclusion: In conclusion, macrophages were recruited into the prostate epithelium and presented diverse phenotypes and morphology, consistent with changes reflected in the hormonal environment. Macrophages with the TAM phenotype were found restricted to areas of premalignant and malignant lesions in aging prostates, denoting a possible involvement in cancer progression. In contrast, M2 macrophages were found in the regressed epithelium after castration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Reproductive Medicine