BACKGROUND. Prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostatitis frequently affect men worldwide. At present there are no suitable animal models for these diseases. This study explores the potential use of the baboon as a model for prostatic diseases. METHODS. Prostates of 48 baboons of different ages were studied. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) and alpha-methyl-acyl-CoA racemase (AMACR) were localized in the different lobes of the prostate by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. PSA in baboon serum was demonstrated by radioimmunoassay and western blotting. Baboon AMACR cDNA was cloned and its expression assayed in baboon tissues. RESULTS. The baboon prostate is anatomically and histologically similar to its human counterpart, with cranial and caudal lobes corresponding to central and peripheral zones of the human prostate. We found lymphocytic infiltration (91%), and sclerosing/atrophic lesions (34%). PSA tissue immunostaining intensity and alpha-methyl-acyl-CoA racemase (AMACR) gene expression levels differed between the cranial and caudal lobes of the prostate. The cloned baboon AMACR cDNA showed 96% homology with its human counterpart. Anti-human AMACR, PSA and basal keratin antibodies stained intracellular and basement membrane structures in the baboon prostate. The sclerosing/atrophic lesions were comparable to their human counterparts. CONCLUSIONS. The similarity of baboon prostate to its human counterpart and the fact that human antibodies (AMACR, PSA, basal keratin) are reactive to baboon prostatic proteins indicates that the baboon is a promising model for human prostatic diseases.
- Prostate cancer
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