Estrogen receptor α and imprinting of the neonatal mouse ventral prostate by estrogen

Yoko Omoto, Otabek Imamov, Margaret Warner, Jan Åke Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Exposure to estrogen in the neonatal period affects prostatic growth and leads to an increased incidence of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia in later life. The effects of neonatal estrogen are clearly dependent on estrogen receptor (ER) α because they do not occur in ERα-knockout mice. Because ERα is expressed in the stroma, but not in the epithelium, of the adult ventral prostate, the concept of indirect estrogen effects through stromal signaling has been proposed. Here, we show that during the first 4 weeks of life, there are profound and rapid changes in the ER profile in the mouse ventral prostate. ERα is abundant in the stroma during week 1, but by week 2 it is exclusively epithelial, and then by week 4, ERα is lost and ERβ is dominant in the prostatic epithelium. The presence of ERα is associated with a high proliferation index, and ERβ is associated with quiescence. Branching morphogenesis was altered in ERα-/-, but not in ERβ-/-, mice. We conclude that imprinting and branching morphogenesis of the ventral prostate are mediated by estrogen acting directly on epithelial and stromal ERα during the first 2 weeks of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1484-1489
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • 5α-androstane-3β,17β-diol
  • Androgen receptor
  • Branching morphology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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