Nerve growth factor-like substance(s) were identified in both conditioned media of a human prostatic tumor epithelial cell line (TSU-pr1) and a human prostatic stromal cell line (HPS) by Western blot analysis and bioassay of neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells. Nerve growth factor-β (NGF) immunofluorescence was also localized to secretory vesicles in the cytoplasm of both the TSU-pr1 and HPS cells. Western blot of the TSU-pr1 and HPS cell-secreted protein identified an Mr 65,000 major protein which immunoreacted with murine NGF antibody. NGF Western blot of HPS cell-secreted protein also identified an Mr 42,000 minor band under reduced and nonreduced conditions and an Mr 61,000 minor band under reduced conditions. The secreted protein from the TSU-pr1 cells (50 µg/ml) and HPS (50 µg/ml), as well as murine NGF (50 ng/ml) or human recombinant NGF (50 ng/ml), stimulated neurite outgrowth from PC12 cells. This neurite outgrowth activity was partially inhibited by treatment with NGF antibody. Neither the serum containing growth medium nor bovine serum albumin (50 µg/ml) stimulated neurite outgrowth. The NGF-like secretory protein appeared to play a role in the paracrine regulation of prostatic growth between TSU-pr1 cells and HPS cells. The relative growth of TSU-pr1 cells, as indicated by [3H]thymidine incorporation, in response to HPS secretory protein was stimulated 2.8-fold in a dose-dependent manner. In the converse interaction, the relative growth of HPS cells in response to TSU-pr1 secretory protein was stimulated 1.8-fold in a dose-dependent manner. Immunoneutralization of TSU-pr1 and HPS secretory protein was performed with antibody against NGF, acidic fibroblast growth factor, and basic fibroblast growth factor. Removal of the NGF-like protein from the maximal stimulatory dose of TSU-pr1 secretory protein (100 µg/ml) with NGF antibody reduced HPS proliferation to 52% of maximal levels, and immunoneutralization of the NGF-like protein in the maximal stimulatory dose of HPS secretory protein (20 µg/ml) also reduced TSU-pr1 proliferation to 16% of maximal levels. Addition of normal rabbit serum or prior immunoprecipitation of either TSU-pr1 or HPS secretory protein with antibody against acidic fibroblast growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor did not inhibit the proliferation of either cell type. These results suggest that TSU-pr1 tumor cells and HPS cells secrete NGF-like protein(s) which modulate their paracrine interactive growth in vitro.

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This research was funded by NIH Grants CA50229 (to D.D.), N01-NS7-2310 (to J.W.), and P01-NS28130 (to J.W).

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