Benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer are major public health problems. We report herein that daily treatment of male rats with 50, 100 or 150 mg quercetin per kg body weight resulted in serum concentrations of quercetin equivalent to 25.3 microM, 43.3 microM and 54.3 microM respectively. Concomitantly, serum testosterone levels were increased by 1.79-, 1.83- and 3.48-fold, while serum dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels were 125%, 92% and 73% of the control. A slight increase in prostate weight coupled with dilated prostate lumens full of secretory materials were observed. Finasteride alone caused a significant decrease in serum DHT level and prostate weight. Co-administration of quercetin with finasteride prevented the finasteride-induced decrease in serum DHT levels but significantly enhanced the reduction in wet prostate weight, which was reduced by 26.9% in finasteride-treated animals to 31.8%, 40.0% and 48.2% after finasteride given together with the three doses of quercetin. The combined treatment altered cell cycle-regulated proteins in a wide spectrum. The expressions of cyclin D1, CDK-4, cdc-2 and phospho-cdc-2 at tyrosine 15, phospho-MEK1/2, phospho-MAP kinase, phospho-pRb at serine 780 and serine 807/811 were significantly inhibited, while the levels of p15, p21 and p27 were increased. In conclusion, quercetin-finasteride treatments caused wide cell cycle deregulation in rat prostates, which, in turn, decreased the proliferation rate, changed the secretion activities of epithelial cells and resulted in a marked reduction in wet prostate weight. The results suggest that quercetin synergizes with finasteride to reduce the wet prostate weight through a cell cycle-related pathway, which may be androgen independent.
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