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The effect of maternal obesity on the prostate of rat offspring during adulthood: a histological and immunohistochemical study

Elwan, Walaa M.; Ibrahim, Marwa A.A.

The Egyptian Journal of Histology: December 2016 - Volume 39 - Issue 4 - p 317–328
doi: 10.1097/01.EHX.0000512119.02167.da
Original articles

Background Obesity is a common metabolic disease with a significant association with many life- threatening diseases. There is a strong association between obesity and impaired male reproductive function.

Aim This study aimed to evaluate the effect of maternal obesity induced by high-fat diet (HFD) on the structure of the prostate of albino rat offspring during adulthood using different histological and immunohistochemical techniques.

Materials and methods Six virgin female albino rats were divided into two groups: the control group, which included rats with free access to standard laboratory diet (7% total fat), and the HFD group, which included rats with free access to HFD diet (23% total fat) for 4 weeks before mating and throughout pregnancy. After delivery, dams with their offspring were maintained on standard laboratory diet. After weaning, all offspring of both groups were maintained on standard laboratory diet until adulthood. Serum levels of testosterone and estradiol were estimated and prostate specimens were processed for histological examination and immunohistochemical staining against Ki-67, Bax, Bcl-2, and Cox-2.

Results Prostatic sections from the HFD group showed enlargement of the glandular component. Many acini showed a significant increase in the epithelial height with focal areas of stratification. Some acini were partially or totally obliterated with nuclear aggregations. Some epithelial cells were exfoliated into the acinar lumen. Focal disruption of the smooth muscle cell layer was observed with fusion of some acini. Thickened fibromuscular stroma, some mononuclear cells, and some dilated congested blood vessels between the prostatic acini were observed. A significant increase in collagen fiber content was noted. Immunohistochemical results revealed a significant increase in Ki-67, Bax, and Cox-2 expression, whereas Bcl-2 expression was significantly decreased. Serum testosterone was significantly decreased, whereas serum estradiol was significantly increased.

Conclusion Maternal obesity caused dramatic alterations in the prostatic structure of their adult offspring, in addition to prostatic inflammation and apoptosis.

Histology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta, University, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence to Marwa A.A. Ibrahim, MD, Histology, Department, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, 31527 Tanta, Egypt Tel: +20 10 9918 6399; fax: +20 403 332 033; e-mails:,

Received June 10, 2016

Accepted September 20, 2016

© 2016 The Egyptian Journal of Histology
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