A temporal and spatial map of axons in developing mouse prostate
Prostate autonomic and sensory axons control glandular growth, fluid secretion, and smooth muscle contraction and are remodeled during cancer and inflammation. Morphogenetic signaling pathways reawakened during disease progression may drive this axon remodeling. These pathways are linked to proliferative activities in prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia. However, little is known about which developmental signaling pathways guide axon investment into prostate. The first step in defining these pathways is pinpointing when axon subtypes first appear in prostate. We accomplished this by immunohistochemically mapping three axon subtypes (noradrenergic, cholinergic, and peptidergic) during fetal, neonatal, and adult stages of mouse prostate development. We devised a method for peri-prostatic axon density quantification and tested whether innervation is uniform across the proximo–distal axis of dorsal and ventral adult mouse prostate. Many axons directly interact with or innervate neuroendocrine cells in other organs, so we examined whether sensory or autonomic axons innervate neuroendocrine cells in prostate. We first detected noradrenergic, cholinergic, and peptidergic axons in prostate at embryonic day (E) 14.5. Noradrenergic and cholinergic axon densities are uniform across the proximal–distal axis of adult mouse prostate while peptidergic axons are denser in the periurethral and proximal regions. Peptidergic and cholinergic axons are closely associated with prostate neuroendocrine cells whereas noradrenergic axons are not. These results provide a foundation for understanding mouse prostatic axon development and organization and, provide strategies for quantifying axons during progression of prostate disease.
KeywordsMouse Axon development Prostate innervation Sympathetic Parasympathetic
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants RO1ES001332, U54DK104310, T32ES007015, U01DK110807, and U01DK110807-S1.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors report no conflict of interest.
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