Purpose: The seminal vesicles are the major source of prostaglandins in seminal fluid. For prostanoid action on cell surfaces they must be released from synthesizing cells. MRP4/ABCC4 (multidrug resistance protein 4 adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette, subfamily C, member 4) is an adenosine triphosphate dependent export pump for organic anions that may mediate prostanoid transport across the plasma membranes. Therefore, we analyzed whether MRP4 is expressed in the seminal vesicles and other tissues of the human urogenital tract, whether MRP4 and prostanoid synthesizing enzymes are co-expressed in the same cell type and whether MRP4 functions as a prostanoid export pump.
Materials and methods: The expression and localization of MRP4 and prostanoid synthesizing enzymes were investigated in several tissues of the male human urogenital tract by immunoblot and immunofluorescence analyses. Prostanoid transport was measured into inside-out membrane vesicles from cells expressing recombinant human MRP4.
Results: MRP4 and prostanoid synthesizing enzymes were co-expressed in the epithelial cells of human seminal vesicles. Moreover, MRP4 was localized in the plasma membrane of epithelial cells of the ureter, in the basolateral membrane of glandular epithelial cells of the prostate, and in smooth muscle cells of the bladder and corpus cavernosum. Transport studies established MRP4 as an efflux pump for prostaglandin E2 (Michaelis constant [Km] 3.5 muM), thromboxane B2 (Km 9.9 muM) and prostaglandin F2alpha (Km 12.6 muM).
Conclusions: The co-expression of prostanoid synthesizing enzymes and MRP4 in epithelial cells of the human seminal vesicles and the function of MRP4 as a prostanoid efflux pump indicate that MRP4 mediates prostanoid transport from these cells, which are the main prostanoid synthesizing cells in the male urogenital tract.