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Histochemistry. 1992;97(3):213-20.

Distribution of insulin binding sites on Leydig cells of rat testes using insulin-coated gold particles.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Aichi Medical University, Japan.


The distribution of insulin binding sites in Leydig cells dispersed with collagenase from rat testes was studied using insulin-coated gold particles as an electron opaque ligand. Using electron microscope is convenient to distinguish Leydig cells among a variety of cells in crude preparations by their ultrastructural characteristics. Leydig cells were shown to possess insulin-binding sites on their plasma membranes. Initial binding sites of insulin were located to the microvillous surfaces. Following binding, receptor-ligand complexes seemed to move to the intermicrovillous plasma membrane, then to be internalized. Two modes of the internalization were confirmed. Most of the receptor-ligand complexes on Leydig cells appeared to be internalized via large, uncoated plasma membrane invaginations, while the remainder became internalized via small pits into vesicles. The receptor-ligand complexes were subsequently transferred to large subsurface vacuoles with electron-lucent lumens believed to correspond to endosomes. The reason why IGCs on the postendosomal pathway moving toward lysosomes was also discussed.

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