Neuroanatomy of the normal prostate




The prostate is a richly innervated organ, but its neuroanatomy has not been throughly mapped and analyzed quantitatively.


We selected prostates from autopsy cases of cancer-free patients aging from their 40's to 70's, and histologic sections were immunostained with S-100. Nerve density hotspots were mapped, photographed, and analyzed for nerve area.


Innervation of the peripheral zone was found to be significantly greater than the transition zone (P < 0.0006), which is in turn significantly more innervated than BPH (P < 0.007). The posterior capsule has significantly more nerve area than the anterior capsule (P < 0.0001). Highest innervation was seen in the neurovascular bundles and seminal vesicles, with the lowest in transition zone and BPH. When compared to increasing patient age, both peripheral zone and overall innervation tended to decrease.


These results are quantitative in nature, performed in cancer-free patients ranging over four different decades of age. We plan to soon compare this profile with our developing profile of cancerous prostates, hoping to learn more about interactions between nerves and prostate cancer. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.