Immunohistochemical localization of steroid 5α-reductase 2 in the human male fetal reproductive tract and adult prostate

Alice C. Levine, Jin Ping Wang, Meiyue Ren, Eliot Eliashvili, David W. Russell, Alexander Kirschenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The activity of the type 2 isozyme of steroid 5α-reductase is crucial for normal development of the external genitalia and prostate in human males. We used immunohistochemistry to localize type 2 isozyme expression in the human male fetal reproductive tract and adult prostate. In fetal tissue, the stroma of the seminal vesicles, corpus cavernosum, corpus spongiosum, dorsal vein complex, scrotal skin, and prostate expressed the enzyme. In addition, the epithelial cells of the fetal urethra and proximal prostatic duets stained positively. The type 2 isozyme could not be detected in epithelial cells of the fetal prostatic acini, seminal vesicles, prostatic utricle, ejaculatory ducts, epididymides, and Cowper's glands. Adult prostate specimens were derived from transurethral prostatectomies performed for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Enzyme expression in these benign prostatic hyperplasia samples localized to the stroma and epithelial cells of the urethra and proximal ducts. No staining was detected in the acinar (luminal and basal/epithelial cells. Double staining with an antismooth muscle actin antibody localized type 2 isozyme expression to the stromal fibroblast cells of the prostate. Double staining with an androgen receptor antibody localized AR expression to the acinar epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts. These data indicate that 5α-reductase type 2 is expressed throughout the developing male genitourinary tract and functions as both an autocrine and a paracrine mediator of growth and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-389
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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