Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Expression of certain cytokeratins can be indicative of the state of differentiation of epithelial cells. The basal cells in the normal adult human prostatic epithelium are characterized by the expression of cytokeratins 5 and 14, whereas the secretory luminal cells contain cytokeratins 8 and 18. Cells cultured from the prostatic epithelium expressed cytokeratins 5, 8, and 18, and thus had features of both basal and luminal cells. Certain growth-inhibitory conditions altered keratin expression in conjunction with growth modulation. Deletion of peptide factors and hormones from the culture medium induced the expression of cytokeratins 1 and 10, associated with a squamous phenotype. These same squamous keratins were found in very dense, stratified cultures that were maintained at confluency in standard, complete medium for extended periods. Retinoic acid enhanced the expression of secretory luminal cell-associated cytokeratins 8 and 18 in semi-confluent cultures. Other growth inhibitory factors such as suramin, transforming growth factor-β, and interferon-γ had no effect on keratin expression. These observations indicate that the differentiation of prostatic epithelial cells can be directed toward alternate pathways, either squamous or secretory, by different growth-inhibitory conditions. However, not all growth inhibitory factors altered differentiation, demonstrating that growth inhibition in itself is not a sufficient inducer of differentiation.
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