Activins and activin antagonists in the prostate and prostate cancer

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012 Aug 15;359(1-2):107-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


Activins are members of the TGF-β super-family. There are 4 mammalian activin subunits (β(A), β(B), β(C) and β(E)) that combine to form functional proteins. The role of activin A (β(A)β(A)) is well characterized and known to be a potent growth and differentiation factor. Two of the activin subunits (β(C) and β(E)) were discovered more recently and little is known about their biological functions. In this review the evidence that activin-β(C) is a significant regulator of activin A bioactivity is presented and discussed. It is concluded that activin-β(C), like other antagonists of activin A, is an important growth regulator in prostate health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Follistatin / metabolism
  • Follistatin-Related Proteins / metabolism
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inhibins / metabolism*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • BAMBI protein, human
  • Follistatin
  • Follistatin-Related Proteins
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • TDGF1 protein, human
  • Activins
  • FSTL1 protein, human
  • Inhibins