Inflammation of the prostate can be induced experimentally in rats by the subcutaneous administration of estrogen. However, it is usually achieved at the price of some alteration in the sex steroid hormone balance and morphological changes in the prostate. In this study, a soy-extracted isoflavone mixture with weak estrogenic activity was administered orally in an attempt to induce prostatitis in a more physiologic way and to characterize the inflammation induced. A total of 36 male Sprague-Dawley rats, 8 weeks old, were divided into 2 groups. The control group was fed with only an AIN-76A diet containing no detectable phytoestrogen and the experimental group was fed with AIN-76A and a soy-extracted isoflavone mixture (genistein 60.0% and daidzein 19.6%), 300mg/kg body weight for 9 weeks. The sequential body weight and prostate weight at necropsy were measured. A histologic examination and histomorphometry assessed the changes in the prostate. The serum concentrations of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone were measured to estimate the effects on the androgen level. Intraprostatic concentrations of genistein and daidzein were measured by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). While no sign of prostate inflammation was apparent in the control group, severe inflammatory changes in the stroma, increased epithelial detachment and inflammatory exudates within the glandular lumen of the dorsolateral prostate were observed in more than 80% (15/18) of the experimental group. However, there was no significant difference in the ventral prostate between the two groups. The daidzein and genistein concentrations in both the lateral and ventral prostates were significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group where no isoflavone was detectable. In addition, the concentrations were much higher in the dorsolateral than in the ventral prostate. Although the body weight gain was not consistent in the experimental group, there were no significant differences in the prostate weight and serum androgen level between groups. In summary, when a soy-extracted genistein and daidzeinrich isoflavone mixture was administered orally into rats, prostatic inflammation with characteristic lobe specificity developed. The present method of inducing prostatitis seems to be a more physiologic than an estrogen-induced experimental model, and sequential pharmacokinetic studies might help in establishing this model as a more valuable tool in assisting future research in this field.
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