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Keywords:

  • Aromatase;
  • Estrogen Receptor;
  • Fetal Alcohol;
  • Prostate Cancers

Background

Prenatal alcohol exposure has been shown to increase offspring susceptibility to some chemical carcinogens. Whether prenatal exposure to alcohol makes the offspring more susceptible to the development of prostate cancer is not known. Therefore, we determined whether any functional abnormalities and increased cancer susceptibility exist in the prostate of fetal alcohol-exposed male rats during the adult period.

Methods

Pregnant rats were fed with a liquid diet containing alcohol (alcohol-fed [AF]), or pair-fed with isocaloric liquid diet (PF) or ad libitum fed with rat chow (ad lib-fed). Male offspring of these rats were given N-Nitroso-N-methylurea and testosterone to induce prostate neoplasia or left untreated. Around 6 to 8 months of age, the prostates of these animals were processed for determination of biochemical changes and histopathologies.

Results

Prostates of noncarcinogen treated animals that were alcohol exposed during the prenatal period demonstrated inflammatory cell infiltration and epithelial atypia and increased number of proliferative cells in the ventral lobe of this gland, but the prostate of control animal showed normal cytoarchitecture. In addition, prenatal alcohol-exposed rats showed decreased levels of cell–cell adhesion marker and increased estrogenic activity in the ventral prostate. Prenatally ethanol (EtOH)-exposed rats, when treated with carcinogen and testosterone, showed histological evidence for high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) primarily in the ventral prostate, whereas control animals showed only low-grade PIN. Prenatally EtOH-exposed rats treated with carcinogen and testosterone also showed increased number of proliferative cells and androgen receptor with concomitant decreased levels of tumor suppressor proteins in the ventral prostate.

Conclusions

These results suggest for the first time that prenatal EtOH exposures induce histophysiological changes in the prostate as well as it increases the susceptibility of the prostate to develop neoplasia during adulthood.