Estrogens play an important role in prostate physiology and neonatal exposure to estrogens has profound effects on the mature structure and hormonal sensitivity of rodent prostate. We aimed to determine the long-term effects of neonatal estrogens on the ductal architecture, morphology and hormonal sensitivity of the mature mouse prostate. Newborn mice (day 1-2) were administered a single injection (s.c.) of estrogens (estradiol benzoate (EB), diethylstilbestrol (DES)) with or without concomitant anti-estrogens (tamoxifen (TAM) or ICI 182 780 (ICI)) TAM or ICI alone, GnRH-antagonist (GnRH-A) or vehicle. At 7 weeks of age, ventral prostates (VP) were microdissected to estimate branch tip numbers and processed for stereologic analysis of volume fractions and diameters of various tissue components. Estrogens induced permanently reduced branching morphogenesis leading to reduced VP weights and these effects were fully reproduced by GnRH-A, consistent with an indirect effect. Stereologically, neonatal estrogens induced epithelial and stromal hyperplasia and significantly reduced (P<0.05) the diameters of VP glandular tubules and lumen compared with controls and these regressive effects were not reversed either by TAM or ICI. These studies confirm that a single neonatal dose of both DES and EB produces imprinting in the mature mouse prostate and indicate that neonatal estrogen effects involve both direct as well as indirect effects. In addition, both TAM and ICI act as partial agonists to the estrogen receptor in the ventral prostate of neonatal mouse.
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