The prostate is an exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals. It differs considerably among species anatomically, chemically, and physiologically. The word prostate comes from Ancient Greek προστάτης, prostátēs, literally "one who stands before", "protector", "guardian".
Anatomically, the prostate can be subdivided in two ways: by zone or by lobe. It does not have a capsule; rather an integral fibromuscular band surrounds it. It is sheathed in the muscles of the pelvic floor, which contract during the ejaculatory process. The prostate also contains some smooth muscles that also help expel semen during ejaculation.
The function of the prostate is to secrete a fluid which contributes to the volume of the semen. This prostatic fluid is slightly alkaline, milky or white in appearance, and in humans usually constitutes roughly 30% of the volume of semen, the other 70% being spermatozoa and seminal vesicle fluid. The alkalinity of semen helps neutralize the acidity of the vaginal tract, prolonging the lifespan of sperm. The prostatic fluid is expelled in the first part of ejaculate, together with most of the sperm. In comparison with the few spermatozoa expelled together with mainly seminal vesicular fluid, those in prostatic fluid have better motility, longer survival, and better protection of genetic material.
Disorders of the prostate include enlargement, inflammation, infection, and cancer.
- 1 Structure
- 2 Function
- 3 Clinical significance
- 4 History
- 5 Other animals
- 6 Additional images
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The prostate is a gland found in males. In adults, it is about the size of a walnut. The prostate is located in the pelvis. Within it sits the urethra coming from the bladder is called the prostatic urethra and merges with the two ejaculatory ducts.
The mean weight of the normal prostate in adult males is about 11 grams, usually ranging between 7 and 16 grams. The volume of the prostate can be estimated by the formula 0.52 × length × width × height. A volume of over 30 cm3 is regarded as prostatomegaly (enlarged prostate). A study stated that prostate volume among patients with negative biopsy is related significantly with weight and height (body mass index), so it is necessary to control for weight. The prostate surrounds the urethra just below the urinary bladder and can be felt during a rectal exam.
The "lobe" classification is more often used in anatomy. The prostate is incompletely divided into five lobes:
|Anterior lobe (or isthmus)||roughly corresponds to part of transitional zone|
|Posterior lobe||roughly corresponds to peripheral zone|
|Right & left Lateral lobes||span all zones|
|Median lobe (or middle lobe)||roughly corresponds to part of central zone|
The prostate has been described as consisting of three or four zones. This "zone" classification is more often used in pathology. The prostate gland has four distinct glandular regions, two of which arise from different segments of the prostatic urethra:
|Name||Fraction of adult gland||Description|
|Peripheral zone (PZ)||70%||The sub-capsular portion of the posterior aspect of the prostate gland that surrounds the distal urethra. ~70–80% of prostatic cancers originate from this portion of the gland.|
|Central zone (CZ)||20%||This zone surrounds the ejaculatory ducts. The central zone accounts for roughly 2.5% of prostate cancers; these cancers tend to be more aggressive and more likely to invade the seminal vesicles.|
|Transition zone (TZ)||5%||The transition zone surrounds the proximal urethra. ~10–20% of prostate cancers originate in this zone. It is the region of the prostate gland that grows throughout life and causes the disease of benign prostatic enlargement. (2)|
|Anterior fibro-muscular zone (or stroma)||N/A||This zone is usually devoid of glandular components and composed only, as its name suggests, of muscle and fibrous tissue.|
The tissue of the prostate consists of glands and stroma. Tall column-shaped cells form the lining (epithelium) of the glands. These lie in either one layer or are pseudostratified. The epithelium is highly variable and areas of low cuboidal or squamous epithelium are also present, with transitional epithelium in the distal regions of the longer ducts. The glands are found as numerous follicles, which in turn drain into long canals and subsequently 12 - 20 main ducts, which in turn drain into the urethra as it passes through the prostate. There are also a small amount of basal cells, which sit next to the basement membranes of glands, and act as stem cells.
The stroma of the prostate is made up of fibrous tissue and smooth muscle. The fibrous tissue separates the gland into lobules. It also sits between the glands and is comprised of randomly orientated smooth-muscle bundles that is continuous with the bladder.
Over time, thickened secretions called corpora amylacea accumulate in the gland.
Three histological types of cells are present in the prostate gland: glandular cells, myoepithelial cells, and subepithelial interstitial cells.
Gene and protein expressionEdit
About 20,000 protein coding genes are expressed in human cells and almost 75% of these genes are expressed in the normal prostate. About 150 of these genes are more specifically expressed in the prostate with about 20 genes being highly prostate specific. The corresponding specific proteins are expressed in the glandular and secretory cells of the prostatic gland and have functions that are important for the characteristics of semen. Some of the prostate specific proteins are enzymes, such as the prostate specific antigen (PSA), and the ACPP protein.
The prostatic part of the urethra develops from the middle, pelvic, part of the urogenital sinus, of endodermal origin. Around the end of the third month of embryonic life, outgrowths arise from the prostatic part of the urethra and grow into the surrounding mesenchyme. The cells lining this part of the urethra differentiate into the glandular epithelium of the prostate. The associated mesenchyme differentiates into the dense stroma and the smooth muscle of the prostate.
To function properly, the prostate needs male hormones (androgens), which are responsible for male sex characteristics. The main male hormone is testosterone, which is produced mainly by the testicles. It is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a metabolite of testosterone, that predominantly regulates the prostate.
The prostate gland enlarges over time, until the fourth decade of life.
Male sexual responseEdit
During male seminal emission, sperm is transmitted from the vas deferens into the male urethra via the ejaculatory ducts, which lie within the prostate gland. Ejaculation is the expulsion of semen from the urethra. Semen is moved into the urethra following contractions of the smooth muscle of the vas deferens and seminal vesicles, following stimulation, primarily of the glans penis. Stimulation sends nerve signals via the internal pudendal nerves to the upper lumbar spine; the nerve signals causing contraction act via the hypogastric nerves. After traveling into the urethra, the seminal fluid is ejaculated out by contraction of the bulbocavernosus muscle.
In human prostatic secretions, the protein content is less than 1%, and the contents are slightly acidic. Contents include proteolytic enzymes, prostatic acid phosphatase, fibrinolysin, and prostate-specific antigen. The secretions also contain zinc with a concentration 500–1,000 times the concentration in blood.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. It can be caused by infection with bacteria, or other noninfective causes. Inflammation of the prostate can cause painful urination or ejaculation, groin pain, difficulty passing urine, or constitutional symptoms. The prostate is enlarged (prostatomegaly) and tender on digital rectal examination. A culprit bacteria may grow in a urine culture.
Acute prostatitis and chronic bacterial prostatitis are treated with antibiotics. Chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, or male chronic pelvic pain syndrome is treated by a large variety of modalities including alpha blockers, nonsteroidal antiinflammatories and amitriptyline. Other treatments may include physical therapy, psychotherapy, antihistamines, anxiolytics, nerve modulators, phytotherapy,[unreliable medical source?], surgery, and more. More recently, a combination of trigger point and psychological therapy has proved effective for category III prostatitis as well.
Benign prostatic hyperplasiaEdit
Benign prostatic hyperplasia refers to a non-malignant enlargement (hyperplasia) of the prostate that is very common in older men. It is often identified when the prostate has enlarged to the point where urination becomes difficult. Symptoms include needing to urinate often (frequency), or taking a while to get started (hesitancy). If the prostate grows too large, it may constrict the urethra and impede the flow of urine, making urination difficult and painful and, in extreme cases, completely impossible, causing urinary retention. Over time, chronic retention may cause the bladder to become larger and cause a backflow of urine into the kidneys (hydronephrosis).
BPH can be treated with medication, a minimally invasive procedure or, in extreme cases, surgery that removes the prostate. In general, treatment often begins with a alpha antagonist medication such as tamsulosin, which reduces the tone of the smooth muscle found in the ureter that passes through the prostate, making it easier for urine to pass through. For people with persistent symptoms, procedures may be considered. The surgery most often used in such cases is called transurethral resection of the prostate, in which an instrument is inserted through the urethra to remove prostate tissue that is pressing against the upper part of the urethra and restricting the flow of urine. This results in the removal of mostly transitional zone tissue in a patient with BPH. Minimally invasive procedures include transurethral needle ablation of the prostate (TUNA) and transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT). These outpatient procedures may be followed by the insertion of a temporary prostatic stent, to allow normal voluntary urination, without exacerbating irritative symptoms. In some cases, "obesity management may be an effective method to reduce prostate volume."
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting older men in the UK, [US]] and Northern Europe and a significant cause of death for elderly men in these countries. Often, a person does not have symptoms; when they do occur, symptoms may include frequency, urgency, hesitation and other symptoms associated with BPH. Uncommonly, such cancers may cause weight loss, urinary retention, or other symptoms due to lesions outside of the prostate, such as back pain.
A digital rectal examination and the measurement of a prostate specific antigen (PSA) level are usually the first investigations done to check for prostate cancer. PSA values are difficult to interpret, because a high value might be present in a person without cancer, and a low value can be present in someone with cancer. The next form of testing is often the taking of a biopsy to assess for tumour activity and invasiveness. Because of the significant risk of overdiagnosis with widespread screening in the general population, prostate cancer screening is controversial. If a tumour is confirmed, medical imaging such as an MRI or bone scan may be done to check for the presence of tumour metastases in other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer that is only present in the prostate is often treated with either surgical removal of the prostate or with radiotherapy or by the insertion of small radioactive particles (brachytherapy) Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is usually treated with hormone therapy, to deprive a tumour of sex hormones (androgens) that stimulate proliferation. This is often done through the use of GnRH analogues or agents that block the receptors that androgens act at, such as bicalutamide; occasionally, surgical removal of the testes may be done instead. Cancer that does not respond to hormonal treatment, or that progresses after treatment, might be treated with chemotherapy such as docetaxel. Radiotherapy may also be used to help with pain associated with bony lesions.
Sometimes, the decision may be made not to treat prostate cancer. If a cancer is small and localised, the decision may be made to monitor for cancer activity at intervals ("Active surveillance") and commence treatment. If a person, because of frailty or other medical conditions or reasons, has a life expectancy less than ten years, then the impacts of treatment may outweight any perceived benefits.
John E. McNeal first proposed the idea of "zones" in 1968. McNeal found that the relatively homogeneous cut surface of an adult prostate in no way resembled "lobes" and thus led to the description of "zones".
The prostate is found as a male accessory gland in all placental mammals excepting edentates, martens, badgers and otters. The prostate glands of male marsupials are disseminate and proportionally larger than those of placental mammals. In some marsupial species, the size of the prostate gland changes seasonally. The structure of the prostate varies, ranging from tubuloalveolar (as in humans) to branched tubular. The gland is particularly well developed in dogs, foxes and boars, though in other mammals, such as bulls, it can be small and inconspicuous. Dogs can produce in one hour as much prostatic fluid as a human can in a day. They excrete this fluid along with their urine to mark their territory. In many rodents and bats, the prostatic fluid contains a coagulant. This mixes with and coagulates semen during copulation to form a mating plug that temporarily prevents further copulation. In cetaceans the prostate is composed of diffuse urethral glands and is surrounded by a very powerful compressor muscle.
Prostatic secretions vary among species. They are generally composed of simple sugars and are often slightly alkaline.
The prostate gland originates with tissues in the urethral wall. This means the urethra, a compressible tube used for urination, runs through the middle of the prostate. This leads to an evolutionary design fault for some mammals, including human males. The prostate is prone to infection and enlargement later in life, constricting the urethra so urinating becomes slow and painful.
Skene's gland is found in both female humans and rodents. Historically it was thought to be a vestigial organ, but recently it has been discovered that it produces the same protein markers, PSA and PAB, as the male prostate. This means Skene's gland functions as a female prostate, a histologic homolog to the male prostate gland.
- Romer, Alfred Sherwood; Parsons, Thomas S. (1977). The Vertebrate Body. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-03-910284-5.
- Tsukise, A.; Yamada, K. (1984). "Complex carbohydrates in the secretory epithelium of the goat prostate". The Histochemical Journal. 16 (3): 311–9. doi:10.1007/BF01003614. PMID 6698810.
- Harper, Douglas. "Prostate". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Raychaudhuri, B.; Cahill, D. (2008). "Pelvic fasciae in urology". Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 90 (8): 633–637. doi:10.1308/003588408X321611. PMC 2727803. PMID 18828961.
- Huggins, Charles; Scott, William W.; Heinen, J. Henry (1942). "Chemical composition of human semen and of the secretions of the prostate and seminal vehicles". Am J Physiol. 136 (3): 467–473. doi:10.1152/ajplegacy.1918.104.22.1687.
- Young, Barbara; O'Dowd, Geraldine; Woodford, Phillip (2013). Wheater's functional histology: a text and colour atlas (6th ed.). Philadephia: Elsevier. pp. 347–8. ISBN 9780702047473.
- Leissner KH, Tisell LE (1979). "The weight of the human prostate". Scand. J. Urol. Nephrol. 13 (2): 137–42. doi:10.3109/00365597909181168. PMID 90380.
- Fowke JH, Motley SS, Cookson MS, Concepcion R, Chang SS, Wills ML, Smith-Jr JA (December 19, 2006). "The association between body size, prostate volume and prostate-specific antigen". Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 10 (2): 137–142. doi:10.1038/sj.pcan.4500924. PMID 17179979.
- Raychaudhuri, B.; Cahill, D. (2008). "Pelvic fasciae in urology". Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 90 (8): 633–637. doi:10.1308/003588408X321611. PMC 2727803. PMID 18828961.
- Standring, Susan, ed. (2016). "Prostate". Gray's anatomy : the anatomical basis of clinical practice (41st ed.). Philadelphia. pp. 1266–1270. ISBN 9780702052309. OCLC 920806541.
- Myers, Robert P (2000). "Structure of the adult prostate from a clinician's standpoint". Clinical Anatomy. 13 (3): 214–5. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-2353(2000)13:3<214::AID-CA10>3.0.CO;2-N. PMID 10797630.
- "Basic Principles: Prostate Anatomy" Archived 2010-10-15 at the Wayback Machine. Urology Match. Www.urologymatch.com. Web. 14 June 2010.
- "Prostate Cancer Information from the Foundation of the Prostate Gland." Prostate Cancer Treatment Guide. Web. 14 June 2010.
- Cohen RJ, Shannon BA, Phillips M, Moorin RE, Wheeler TM, Garrett KL (2008). "Central zone carcinoma of the prostate gland: a distinct tumor type with poor prognostic features". The Journal of Urology. 179 (5): 1762–7, discussion 1767. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2008.01.017. PMID 18343454.
- "Prostate Gland Development". ana.ed.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 2003-04-30. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
- (in English) Gevaert, T; Lerut, E; Joniau, S; Franken, J; Roskams, T; De Ridder, D (2014). "Characterization of subepithelial interstitial cells in normal and pathologic human prostate". Histopathology. 65 (3): 418–28. doi:10.1111/his.12402. PMID 24571575.
- "The human proteome in prostate - The Human Protein Atlas". www.proteinatlas.org. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
- Uhlén, Mathias; Fagerberg, Linn; Hallström, Björn M.; Lindskog, Cecilia; Oksvold, Per; Mardinoglu, Adil; Sivertsson, Åsa; Kampf, Caroline; Sjöstedt, Evelina (2015-01-23). "Tissue-based map of the human proteome". Science. 347 (6220): 1260419. doi:10.1126/science.1260419. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 25613900.
- O'Hurley, Gillian; Busch, Christer; Fagerberg, Linn; Hallström, Björn M.; Stadler, Charlotte; Tolf, Anna; Lundberg, Emma; Schwenk, Jochen M.; Jirström, Karin (2015-08-03). "Analysis of the Human Prostate-Specific Proteome Defined by Transcriptomics and Antibody-Based Profiling Identifies TMEM79 and ACOXL as Two Putative, Diagnostic Markers in Prostate Cancer". PLOS ONE. 10 (8): e0133449. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133449. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4523174. PMID 26237329.
- Sadley, TW (2019). Langman's medical embryology (14th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer. pp. 265–6. ISBN 9781496383907.
- Moore, Keith L.; Persaud, T. V. N.; Torchia, Mark G. (2008). Before We are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects (7th ed.). ISBN 978-1-4160-3705-7.
- Barrett, Kim E., (2019). Ganong's review of medical physiology. Barman, Susan M.,, Brooks, Heddwen L.,, Yuan, Jason X.-J. (26th ed.). New York. pp. 411, 415. ISBN 9781260122404. OCLC 1076268769.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Rosenthal, Martha (2012). Human Sexuality: From Cells to Society. Cengage Learning. pp. 133–135. ISBN 978-0618755714. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Komisaruk, Barry R.; Whipple, Beverly; Nasserzadeh, Sara & Beyer-Flores, Carlos (2009). The Orgasm Answer Guide. JHU Press. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-0-8018-9396-4. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- Davidson's 2018, pp. 437-9.
- "Physical Therapy Treatment for Prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome". 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-22.
- "Quercetin Treatment for Prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome". 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-22.
- Anderson RU, Wise D, Sawyer T, Chan CA (2006). "Sexual dysfunction in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: improvement after trigger point release and paradoxical relaxation training". J. Urol. 176 (4 Pt 1): 1534–8, discussion 1538–9. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.383.7495. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2006.06.010. PMID 16952676.
- Christensen, TL; Andriole, GL (February 2009). "Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Current Treatment Strategies". Consultant. 49 (2).
- Dineen MK, Shore ND, Lumerman JH, Saslawsky MJ, Corica AP (2008). "Use of a Temporary Prostatic Stent After Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy Reduced Voiding Symptoms and Bother Without Exacerbating Irritative Symptoms". J. Urol. 71 (5): 873–877. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2007.12.015. PMID 18374395.
- Olsen, Bruce D. (2009-05-09). Understanding Human Anatomy Through Evolution (Second ed.). p. 112. ISBN 9780578021645.
- Australian Mammal Society (December 1978). Australian Mammal Society. Australian Mammal Society.
- Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe; Marilyn Renfree (30 January 1987). Reproductive Physiology of Marsupials. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-33792-2.
- C. Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe (2005). Life of Marsupials. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 978-0-643-06257-3.
- Sherwood, Lauralee; Klandorf, Hillar; Yancey, Paul (January 2012). Animal Physiology: From Genes to Organisms. p. 779. ISBN 9781133709510.
- Nelsen, O. E. (1953) Comparative embryology of the vertebrates Blakiston, page 31.
- Glover, Tim (2012-07-12). Mating Males: An Evolutionary Perspective on Mammalian Reproduction. p. 31. ISBN 9781107000018.
- Animal reproductive system Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Asdell S A (1965) "Reproduction and Development" In: William Mayer (Ed) Physiological Mammalogy, Volume 2, page 9. Elsevier. ISBN 9780323155250.
- William F. Perrin; Bernd Würsig; J.G.M. Thewissen (26 February 2009). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-08-091993-5.
- Rommel, Sentiel A., D. Ann Pabst, and William A. McLellan. "Functional anatomy of the cetacean reproductive system, with comparisons to the domestic dog." Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Cetacea. Science Publishers (2016): 127-145.
- Alan J., Wein; Louis R., Kavoussi; Alan W., Partin; Craig A., Peters (23 October 2015). Campbell-Walsh Urology (Eleventh ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 1005–. ISBN 9780323263740.
- Coyne, Jerry A. (2009). Why Evolution is True. p. 90. ISBN 9780199230846.
- Zaviačič, Milan (1999). The Human Female Prostate: From Vestigial Skene's Paraurethral Glands and Ducts to Woman's Functional Prostate. ISBN 9788088908500.
- Santos, F C A; Taboga, S R (2006). "Female prostate: a review about the biological repercussions of this gland in humans and rodents" (PDF). Animal Reproduction. 3 (1): 3–18.
- Knobil and Neill's Physiology of Reproduction. 2005-12-12. p. 1165. ISBN 9780080535272.
- Cope, E. D. (1892). "On the Habits and Affinities of the New Australian Mammal, Notoryctes typhlops". The American Naturalist. 26 (302): 121–128. doi:10.1086/275484. JSTOR 2452234.
- Riedelsheimer, B.; Unterberger, Pia; Künzle, H.; Welsch, U. (2007). "Histological study of the cloacal region and associated structures in the hedgehog tenrec Echinops telfairi". Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 72 (6): 330–341. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2006.10.012.
- Barth, Robert; Broshears, Robert (1982). The Mollusks. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders College Publishing.
- Portions of the text of this article originate from NIH Publication No. 02-4806, a public domain resource. "What I need to know about Prostate Problems". 2002-06-01. Archived from the original on 2002-06-01. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- Ralston, Stuart H.; Penman, Ian D.; Strachan, Mark W.; Hobson, Richard P. (eds.) (2018). Davidson's principles and practice of medicine (23rd ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-7020-7028-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Media related to Prostate at Wikimedia Commons