In a study published in Nature Cell Biology, researchers lead by Cédric Blanpain, MD/PhD, WELBIO investigator at the IRIBHM, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, identify novel classes of prostate stem cells that ensure the development of the different cell lineages of the prostate.
The prostate is a secretory gland surrounding the urethra at the base of the bladder producing the seminal fluid providing nutrients, ions and enzymes necessary for the survival of the spermatozoids during their journey through the female reproductive tract. The adult prostate is composed of three cell lineages: the basal cells, the luminal cells and the neuroendocrine cells.
To precisely define the cellular hierarchy of the prostate during the development under physiological conditions, Marielle Ousset and colleagues used state of the art genetic lineage tracing approach to fluorescently mark the different cell types of the prostate and follow the fate of marked cells overtime. The researchers found that multipotent and unipotent stem cells contribute to prostate postnatal development. "These new findings establish a new paradigm for the mode of development of glandular epithelia and will be extremely important for those studying development, stem cells and prostate but also open new avenues to uncover the cells at the origin of the prostate cancer, a very important question, not yet completely solved" said Cédric Blanpain.
Ousset et al. Multipotent and unipotent progenitors contribute to prostate postnatal development. Nature Cell Biology, 2012 DOI:10.1038/ncb2600