Korean J Parasitol.  2021 Jun;59(3):235-249. 10.3347/kjp.2021.59.3.235.

Signaling Role of Adipocyte Leptin in Prostate Cell Proliferation Induced by Trichomonas vaginalis

  • 1Department of Environmental Biology and Medical Parasitology, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul 04763, Korea
  • 2Department of Biomedical Science, Graduate School of Biomedical Science & Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul 04763, Korea
  • 3Department of Pathology, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 06273, Korea
  • 4Department of Urology, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul 04763, Korea


Leptin is a type of adipokine mainly produced by adipocytes and reported to be overproduced in prostate cancer. However, it is not known whether it stimulates the proliferation of prostate cells. In this study, we investigated whether benign prostatic hyperplasia epithelial cells (BPH-1 cells) infected with Trichomonas vaginalis induced the proliferation of prostate cells via a leptin signaling pathway. To investigate the effect of crosstalk between adipocyte leptin and inflamed epithelial cell in proliferation of prostate cells, adipocytes 3T3-L1 cells were incubated in conditioned medium of BPH-1 cells infected with T. vaginalis (T. vaginalis-conditioned medium, TCM), and then the adipocyte-conditioned medium (ATCM) was identified to cause proliferation of prostate cells. BPH-1 cells incubated with live T. vaginalis released pro-inflammatory cytokines, and conditioned medium of these cells caused migration of adipocytes. When prostate stromal cells and BPH-1 cells were incubated with adipocyte conditioned medium containing leptin, their growth rates increased as did expression of the leptin receptor (known as OBR) and signaling molecules such as JAK2/STAT3, Notch and survivin. Moreover, blocking the OBR reduced this proliferation and the expression of leptin signaling molecules in response to ATCM. In conclusion, our findings show that inflamed BPH-1 cells infected with T. vaginalis induce the proliferation of prostate cells through leptin-OBR signaling. Therefore, it is likely that T. vaginalis contributes to prostate enlargement in BPH via adipocyte leptin released as a result of inflammation of the prostate.


leptin; prostatic hyperplasia; cell proliferation; adipocyte
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