Promotion of epithelial hyperplasia by interleukin-8—CXCR axis in human prostate

Diandra K. Smith, Sarrah L. Hasanali, Jiaojiao Wang, Georgios Kallifatidis, Daley S. Morera, Andre R. Jordan, Martha K. Terris, Zachary Klaassen, Roni Bollag, Vinata B. Lokeshwar, Bal L. Lokeshwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The clinical manifestation of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is causally linked to the inflammatory microenvironment and proliferation of epithelial and stromal cells in the prostate transitional zone. The CXC-chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) contributes to inflammation. We evaluated the expression of inflammatory cytokines in clinical specimens, primary cultures, and prostatic lineage cell lines. We investigated whether IL-8 via its receptor system (IL-8 axis) promotes BPH. Methods: The messenger RNA and protein expression of chemokines, including components of the IL-8 axis, were measured in normal prostate (NP; n = 7) and BPH (n = 21), urine (n = 24) specimens, primary cultures, prostatic lineage epithelial cell lines (NHPrE1, BHPrE1, BPH-1), and normal prostate cells (RWPE-1). The functional role of the IL-8 axis in prostate epithelial cell growth was evaluated by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. The effect of a combination with two natural compounds, oleanolic acid (OA) and ursolic acid (UA), was evaluated on the expression of the IL-8 axis and epithelial cell growth. Results: Among the 19 inflammatory chemokines and chemokine receptors we analyzed, levels of IL-8 and its receptors (CXCR1, CXCR2), as well as, of CXCR7, a receptor for CXCL12, were 5- to 25-fold elevated in BPH tissues when compared to NP tissues (P ≤.001). Urinary IL-8 levels were threefold to sixfold elevated in BPH patients, but not in asymptomatic males and females with lower urinary tract symptoms (P ≤.004). The expression of the IL-8 axis components was confined to the prostate luminal epithelial cells in both normal and BPH tissues. However, these components were elevated in BPH-1 and primary explant cultures as compared to RWPE-1, NHPrE1, and BHPrE1 cells. Knockout of CXCR7 reduced IL-8, and CXCR1 expression by 4- to 10-fold and caused greater than or equal to 50% growth inhibition in BPH-1 cells. Low-dose OA + UA combination synergistically inhibited the growth of BPH-1 and BPH primary cultures. In the combination, the drug reduction indices for UA and OA were 16.4 and 7852, respectively, demonstrating that the combination was effective in inhibiting BPH-1 growth at significantly reduced doses of UA or OA alone. Conclusion: The IL-8 axis is a promotor of BPH pathogenesis. Low-dose OA + UA combination inhibits BPH cell growth by inducing autophagy and reducing IL-8 axis expression in BPH-epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-949
Number of pages12
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • CXCR1
  • CXCR2
  • CXCR7
  • chemokines
  • inflammation
  • prostate proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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