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Keywords:

  • Androgen;
  • Androgen receptor;
  • Stem cells;
  • Adult stem cells;
  • Prostate cancer;
  • Prostate cancer stem cells

Abstract

Stem/progenitor (S/P) cells are special types of cells that have the ability to generate tissues throughout their entire lifetime and play key roles in the developmental process. Androgen and the androgen receptor (AR) signals are the critical determinants in male gender development, suggesting that androgen and AR signals might modulate the behavior of S/P cells. In this review, we summarize the AR effects on the behavior of S/P cells, including self-renewal, proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation in normal S/P cells, as well as proliferation, invasion, and self-renewal in prostate cancer S/P cells. AR plays a protective role in the oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in embryonic stem cells. AR inhibits the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells, bone marrow stromal cells, and prostate S/P cells, but promotes their differentiation except for adipogenesis. However, AR promotes the proliferation of hematopoietic S/P cells and stimulates hematopoietic lineage differentiation. In prostate cancer S/P cells, AR suppresses their self-renewal, metastasis, and invasion. Together, AR differentially influences the characteristics of normal S/P cells and prostate cancer S/P cells, and targeting AR might improve S/P cell transplantation therapy, especially in embryonic stem cells and bone marrow stromal cells. Stem Cells 2014;32:2299–2308