• prostate;
  • interstitial cells;
  • connexin;
  • vanilloid;
  • cannabinoid



Interstitial cells have been described in different human organs, including gut and bladder. In the gut they function as pacemaker cells, generating slow wave potentials. Absence or defects in these cells result in motility disorders. In the bladder these cells express the vanilloid receptor and may contribute to the working mechanism of vanilloid therapy. Recently, slow wave potentials and interstitial cells were described in the guinea-pig prostate. In this study we describe the presence of interstitial cells in the human prostate gland.


We performed immunohistochemical staining for c-kit, vanilloid receptor (VR1), cannabinoid receptor (CB1) connexin43, and neurofilament on fresh frozen tissue from 14 prostatectomy specimens.


A large number of cells with a stellate aspect were noticed under the basal layer of the prostatic duct system and in between the smooth muscle cells. They were immunoreactive for c-kit, VR1, and connexin43 but not to CB1 or neurofilament.


There is evidence for interstitial cells in the human prostate. Taken together their topography and immunohistochemical characterization, the discovery of slow wave potentials in guinea pig prostate and the knowledge of interstitial cells in other organs, interstitial cells are likely to be involved in normal prostate physiology. Prostate 56: 250–255, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.