A new method for simultaneously detecting a range of metabolites, or products of metabolism, may improve our understanding of how prostate inflammation contributes to the enlarged-prostate condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The researchers detected increased levels of metabolites that had never been measured in the prostate. The study also suggested that an activation of two key enzymes drives the inflammation associated with BPH.
The study, “Quantification of Arachidonic Acid and Its Metabolites in Rat Tissues by UHPLC-MS/MS: Application for the Identification of Potential Biomarkers of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia,” was published in the journal Plos One.
Earlier studies have suggested that inflammation is present in the prostates of BPH patients.
Arachidonic acid is a key factor in signaling that there is inflammation, as it gives rise to numerous compounds that guard against the condition.
Using a testosterone-triggered rat model of BPH, a research team at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University measured arachidonic acid and 10 of its downstream metabolites. The measurements were made in the prostate, seminal glands, bladder, liver, and kidneys of BPH and control rats.
Arachidonic acid and nine of its metabolites were higher in the prostates of BPH rats than in the controls.
The acid is mainly processed by two types of enzymes, COX and LOX, which are crucial to many inflammatory processes. While the COX-produced factors in the study were moderately higher in the BHP rats, one LOX-produced factor was 30 times higher than in the control rats and another 61 times higher.
The research team detected similar increases in the other tissues it examined, although the levels and the degree of increase in the individual factors varied. The enzymes’ importance to each of the factors also differed among the tissues.
One of the factors that was found in high levels in the prostate, LTB4, is known to boost inflammation by attracting inflammatory cells. Other metabolites with known roles in inflammation and pain were also present in the prostate.
The researchers noted that no one had previously measured the majority of the metabolites in the prostate, suggesting that scientists still have plenty to learn about the factors’ roles in BPH.