Physiology and Pharmacology of the Prostate

  • William D. Steers
Part of the Springer Specialist Surgery Series book series (SPECIALIST)


The physiological properties of the prostate resemble those of other exocrine glands. The precise functions of the prostate remain obscure but some inferences can be made. The prostate is ideally positioned to block the entrance of pathogens into the reproductive tract by secreting potent biological agents that are bacteriostatic. These substances include metal ions, proteases, and highly charged organic molecules such as spermine. The total contribution to seminal fluid (average 3 mL) made by prostate secretions is about 0.5 mL. The pH of these prostate secretions is relatively alkaline and varies from 6 to 8, possibly to counteract the acidic environment of the urethra and vagina. Seminal plasma may increase sperm motility or survival in the male urethra or female genital tract by buffering mechanisms. Constituents of prostatic fluid participate in the clotting (semenogelins I and II) and lysing (prostate specific antigen) of semen. This clotting, then liquefaction may somehow optimize fertility by allowing an initial higher dwell time in the female reproductive tract. A list of components of prostatic fluid is found in Table 18.1.


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Lower Urinary Tract Symptom PDE5 Inhibitor Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Patient Prostatic Fluid 
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© Springer London 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. Steers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of UrologyUniversity of Virginia School of MedicineCharlottesvilleUSA

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