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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Mar 13;98(6):3316-21. Epub 2001 Feb 27.

Testicular FasL is expressed by sperm cells.

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  • 1Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Department of Histology and Medical Embryology, University of Rome "La Sapienza," 00161 Rome, Italy.


The testis is the main source of Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA in rodents; it is generally believed that this molecule, expressed on bordering somatic Sertoli cells, bestows an immune-privileged status in the testis by eliminating infiltrating inflammatory Fas-bearing leukocytes. Our results demonstrate that the attribution of testicular expression of FasL to Sertoli cells is erroneous and that FasL transcription instead occurs in meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells, whereas the protein is only displayed on mature spermatozoa. These findings point to a significant role of the Fas system in the biology of mammalian reproduction.

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