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Cell Biology International (2004) 28, 335–344 (Printed in Great Britain)
Acid phosphatase activity in gerbil prostate: comparative study in male and female during postnatal development
Ana Maria Galvan Custódioa, Rejane Maira Góesb and Sebastião Roberto Tabogab*
aDepartment of Cell Biology, UNICAMP, Campinas, SP., PO Box 6109, 13084-971 Brazil
bLaboratório de Microscopia e Microanálise, Departamento de Biologia, IBILCE/UNESP, Rua Cristóvão Colombo, 2265, Jardim Nazareth 15054-000, São José do Rio Preto, SP., Brazil


The prostate is present in both male and female mammals. It is composed of secretory epithelium, connective stroma, smooth muscle and neuroendocrine cells, which are under hormonal regulation. Acid phosphatases catalyze the hydrolysis of orthophosphate monoesters. We have compared the expression of acid phosphatases in gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) prostate glands in both sexes using young, adult and old animals. Eighteen prostates were isolated, frozen, sectioned, fixed, incubated with sodium β-glycerophosphate sodium, washed with acetate buffer solution, treated with ammonium sulfide and counterstained with Methyl-Green aqueous solution. Ultracytochemical analyses were also conducted. This substrate revealed total acid phosphatase activity. The expression of the enzyme was heterogeneous, occurring in all ages during postnatal development. The data revealed that the female prostate matured before the male prostate. In addition, acid phosphatase activity in both sexes was regulated by androgen variation concomitant with development.

Key words: Female prostate, Male prostate, Gerbil, Enzyme cytochemistry, Acid phosphatase.

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +55-17-2212386; fax: +55-17-2212390.

Received 24 February 2003/4 December 2003; accepted 8 December 2003


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)