Ultrastructure of the ventral prostate glands was studied in mice castrated for 1 through 60 days and for 11 and 17 months and in age-matched normals. We have described freeze-fracture and ultrastructural characteristics of acinar epithelial cells in addition to the patterns of thymidine incorporation in the cells of castrates and normal animals. Our study has shown a biphasic pattern of prostatic involution in the long-term castrated mice. In castrates the initial atrophy of prostate glands occurred by sloughing of the apical portions of columnar cells, autophagia of the cytoplasmic organelles as well as by occasional sloughing of the individual cells into the acinar lumen. Concurrent with the initial atrophy, the glands and stroma were infiltrated by neutrophils and lymphocytes. The cell loss by sloughing and leucocyte infiltration of glands became infrequent in 7- to 21-day castrates. However, the cell loss by sloughing increased secondarily in mice castrated for 21 to 37 days along with the increased leucocyte infiltration of the glands. The cell loss became minimal in castrates of 60 days and beyond. Our evidence suggests that the cell loss by sloughing was an active process in the involution of prostate glands which also showed differential sensitivity to castration stimuli in mice.
- Biphasic prostatic involution
- Castrated mice
- Cell loss by sloughing
- Leucocyte infiltration
- Prostate glands