Fukushima team makes world’s 1st discovery on prostate enlargement disorder

31 January 2020

A research team at Fukushima Medical University has found how an immune "complement" system for eliminating disease-causing microbes that invade humans and other organisms works to cause the enlargement of the prostate gland. According to the prefectural university, the study has shed light on prostatic hypertrophy disorder, known technically as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), for the first time in the world.

The team includes lecturer Junya Hata, 33, and professor Yoshiyuki Kojima, 50, at the university's Department of Urology, as well as professor Hideharu Sekine, 51, and lecturer Takeshi Machida, 38, from the Department of Immunology.

Generally, a complement system works as a major component of innate immune mechanisms in removing microorganisms that invade the body. However, it has also recently been found to cause inflammation related to various diseases.

The Fukushima team, focusing on the possibility of this mechanism working on BPH development, used tissues from a BPH-affected human prostatic gland and other materials in the study. As a result, one of three mechanisms of complement activation was found to especially lead to amplified inflammation.

The results of the study may lead to the development of a new drug, among other possibilities. A paper on the outcome was published in the December 2019 edition of a British science magazine, "Scientific Reports."

BPH occurs in about half of elderly men, plaguing them with symptoms such as difficulty with urination and bladder control. Male hormones are suspected of playing a role in causing the disease, but full understanding has yet to be achieved.

(Translated by Kyodo News)