Chronic prostate inflammation may trigger the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and urinary complications, according to a new study in which the researchers contend the prevalence of a certain type of blood vessel can be a biomarker of the degree of prostate inflammation.
The study, “Appearance Of High Endothelial Venule-Like Vessels In Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Is Associated With Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms,” was published in the journal The Prostate.
Chronic inflammation is characterized by the recruitment of immune system lymphocytes to the affected area, a process enabled by a type of blood vessel called high endothelial venule (HEV). Previous research had shown that the number of HEV-like vessels increased with the degree of inflammation in chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases.
To investigate whether HEV-like vessels also can help determine the extent of inflammation in BPH patients with chronic prostate inflammation, researchers analyzed 86 biopsy samples from BPH patients. They analyzed the levels of protein markers, such as CD34 and MECA-79, to assess the number of HEV-like vessels.
They also analyzed the levels of a triple combination of proteins (CD3 and CD20, or CD4 and CD8, together with MECA-79) to identify lymphocyte subsets associated with HEV-like vessels. These results, indicative of the extent of chronic prostate inflammation, were then correlated with the degree of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) of each patient.
Results indicated that 79 of the 86 BPH samples were positive for MECA-79, showing that HEV-like vessels were induced in lymphocyte accumulation. Unaffected areas, on the other hand, had no sign of HEV-like vessels.
Moreover, the number of HEV-like vessels was associated with the extent of chronic prostate inflammation, as well as with the degree of LUTS in patients, especially those with urinary complications. As a result, HEV-like vessels can be a valuable biomarker for prostate inflammation.
“[W]e demonstrate that HEV-like vessels are induced in lymphocyte aggregates formed in BPH,” researchers wrote. “We also show that the number of MECA-79 [positive] HEV-like vessels positively correlates not only with the magnitude of chronic prostatic inflammation but also with the degree of LUTS, particularly with symptoms associated with voiding function, which we measured objectively in a pressure flow study,” the study continued.
“These findings suggest that chronic prostate inflammation is a factor that determines association between BPH and LUTS,” researchers concluded.