The human prostate increases in size and develops histologic evidence of stimulated growth during three periods of life: before and at birth, during puberty, and with achievement of advancing age (20). The evidence for prostatic stimulation during gestation and at birth is based on histologic studies. During development, the prostatic tubules progress from solid cellular buds at the ends of ducts to bud acinar combinations and then to acinar tubular clusters arranged in lobules. The tubules gradually regress after the first month of life (21). The secretions stain with variable intensity with periodic acid Schiff stain but stain only weakly for prostate-specific antigen (11).
At puberty, the prostate demonstrates marked histologic evidence of stimulation, progressing from enlargement of the end buds of the pro-static ducts to development of somewhat distended alveoli and tall columnar epithelium. Although stromal cells are the predominant prostate tissue, the relative smooth muscle contribution decreases in the first and second decade of life and increases to neonatal levels in the third (22). During the third decade, there is a gradual, irregular increase in the infolding of the alveolar epithelium. After the fourth decade, fewer of these infoldings are seen, and the tendency to cystic dilatation becomes evident.
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