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Cell Plasticity in a Mouse Model of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia Drives Amplification of Androgen-Independent Epithelial Cell Populations Sensitive to Antioxidant Therapy.

Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is caused by the non-malignant enlargement of the transition zone of the prostate gland, leading to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). While current medical treatments are unsatisfactory in many patients, the limited understanding of the mechanisms driving disease progression prevents the development of alternative therapeutic strategies. The probasin-prolactin (Pb-PRL) transgenic mouse recapitulates many histopathological features of human BPH. We here show that these alterations parallel urodynamic disturbance reminiscent of LUTS. Single cell RNA-sequencing analysis of Pb-PRL mouse prostates revealed that their epithelium mainly includes low-androgen signaling cell populations analogous to Club/Hillock cells enriched in the aged human prostate. These intermediate cells are predicted to result from the reprogramming of androgen-dependent luminal cells. Pb-PRL mouse prostates exhibit increased vulnerability to oxidative stress due to reduction of antioxidant enzyme expression. One-month treatment of Pb-PRL mice with Anethole Trithione (ATT), a specific inhibitor of mitochondrial ROS production, reduced prostate weight and voiding frequency. In human BPH-1 epithelial cells, ATT decreased mitochondrial metabolism, cell proliferation and stemness features. ATT prevented the growth of organoids generated by sorted Pb-PRL basal and LSCmed cells, the two major BPH-associated, androgen-independent epithelial cell compartments. Taken together, our results support cell plasticity as a driver of BPH progression and therapeutic resistance to androgen signaling inhibition, and identify antioxidant therapy as a promising treatment of BPH.

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