Structure, histochemistry, and ultrastructure of the epithelium and stroma in the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) female prostate
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The female prostate has aroused scientific interest because it is subjected to the same diseases compromising the male prostate during aging. The objective of this work was to characterize structurally, cytochemically, and ultrastructurally the tissue compartments of the normal adult female prostate of Meriones unguiculatus gerbils. The morphological analyses showed that the gerbil's female prostate is constituted of a cluster of glands and ducts inserted in a musculofibrous stroma. The alveolar epithelium is differentiated and consisted of basal proliferating cells, intermediary cells, and secretory cells. The secretory cells are the most numerous cell type and continuously secrete glycoproteins. The basal cells are the source of the secretory cells and they are then responsible for the alveolus renovation. The prostatic stroma is abundant and rich in elastic and collagen fibers, which are closely associated with smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. The results showed that the gerbil's female prostate shows morphological and ultrastructural homology to the human female prostate (Skene's gland), and despite being a small organ, it is a mature and physiologically active gland. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.