Review of Prostate Anatomy and Embryology and the Etiology of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia LaTayia Aaron, BSa,b , Omar E. Franco, MD, PhDb , Simon W. Hayward, PhDa,b, * INTRODUCTION The human prostate is a walnut-sized organ at the base of the urinary bladder. It is the seat of three major causes of morbidity: (1) benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), (2) prostate cancer, and (3) prostatitis. As such it commands more attention than might be expected from an organ of this size. Anatomic illustrations of the prostate have been published dating at least as far back as the mid-sixteenth century when Andreas Vesalius, in 1543, published his observations of the male accessory glands.1 The links between testicular and prostatic function have also been known for hundreds of years. John Hunter, writing in 1786 in “Observations on the glands situated between the rectum and the bladder, called vesiculae seminales” said “the prostate and Cowper’s glands and those of the urethra which in the perfect male are soft and bulky with a secretion salty to the taste, in the castrated animal are small, flabby, tough and ligermentous and have little secretion.”2 The adult prostate is a compound tubularalveolar gland found in most mammals.3 The gross structure differs considerably between species. Much of the descriptive work on the development of the prostate from its origins in the hindgut to descriptions of the adult organ was performed by anatomists and pathologists working in the early to mid-twentieth century. Subsequent work has outlined the molecular basis for these descriptions. Interest in prostate biology is centered around the human organ and that of the species, notably rats
Disclosure Statement: The authors have nothing to disclose. This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants 1R01 DK103483 and 2 R25 GM059994-13. a Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, Meharry Medical College, 1005 DR DB Todd JR Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208, USA; b Department of Surgery, NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute, 1001 University Place, Evanston, IL 60201, USA * Corresponding author. Cancer Biology, NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute, 1001 University Place, Evanston, IL 60201. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org KEYWORDS Prostate embryology Prostate anatomy BPH LUTS KEY POINTS Development of the prostate in humans and laboratory animals follows similar principles but the details vary. The anatomy of the human prostate is significantly different from that seen in laboratory animals. The disease profile of the human and rodent prostate is very different. Animal models describe certain aspects of human BPH but not the whole disease profile. Care should be taken in extrapolating observations made in rodents and applying them to humans. Urol Clin N Am 43 (2016) 279–288 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ucl.2016.04.012 0094-0143/16/$ – see front matter 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.