The senescence-associated secretory phenotype promotes benign prostatic hyperplasia

Am J Pathol. 2014 Mar;184(3):721-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.11.015. Epub 2014 Jan 13.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is characterized by increased tissue mass in the transition zone of the prostate, which leads to obstruction of urine outflow and considerable morbidity in a majority of older men. Senescent cells accumulate in human tissues, including the prostate, with increasing age. Expression of proinflammatory cytokines is increased in these senescent cells, a manifestation of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Multiplex analysis revealed that multiple cytokines are increased in BPH, including GM-CSF, IL-1α, and IL-4, and that these are also increased in senescent prostatic epithelial cells in vitro. Tissue levels of these cytokines were correlated with a marker of senescence (cathepsin D), which was also strongly correlated with prostate weight. IHC analysis revealed the multifocal epithelial expression of cathepsin D and coexpression with IL-1α in BPH tissues. In tissue recombination studies in nude mice with immortalized prostatic epithelial cells expressing IL-1α and prostatic stromal cells, both epithelial and stromal cells exhibited increased growth. Expression of IL-1α in prostatic epithelial cells in a transgenic mouse model resulted in increased prostate size and bladder obstruction. In summary, both correlative and functional evidence support the hypothesis that the senescence-associated secretory phenotype can promote the development of BPH, which is the single most common age-related pathology in older men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cathepsin D / analysis
  • Cathepsin D / metabolism
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phenotype
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / complications
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology*
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neck Obstruction / etiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-8
  • Interleukin-4
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Cathepsin D