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Endocrinology. 1991 Jun;128(6):2805-14.

Alpha 2-macroglobulin is not an acute-phase protein in the rat testis.

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  • 1Population Council, New York, New York 10021.


Earlier studies from this laboratory have shown that Sertoli cells actively synthesize and secrete a nonspecific protease inhibitor in vitro; N-terminal sequence analysis, subunit structural analysis, and other biological studies revealed that this protein is the homolog of serum alpha 2-macroglobulin. We have now quantified the relative distribution of alpha 2-macroglobulin in the reproductive compartments and their comparison with nonreproductive organs. In serum and all nonreproductive tissues examined, the concentration of alpha 2-macroglobulin progressively decreased with advancing age. However, in both the testis and epididymis, the levels of this protein increased with the age of the animals. Serum alpha 2-macroglobulin levels were consistently higher than those in any other tissues until 60 days when the concentrations of this protein were the highest in the epididymis. The distribution of alpha 2-macroglobulin in various nonreproductive tissues from female rats was similar to that observed for male rats in that its levels tended to decrease with age. However, uterine levels of alpha 2-macroglobulin increased progressively with advancing age, whereas ovarian levels of alpha 2-macroglobulin remained relatively stable with an increase in animal age. As serum alpha 2-macroglobulin is an acute-phase protein in the rat, the response of this protein in the testis to induced inflammation was examined. The concentration of alpha 2-macroglobulin in serum rose about 150-fold after injection of fermented yeast. By contrast, the levels of this protein in rete testis fluid, which is derived exclusively from seminiferous fluid, did not change in response to inflammation. These results suggest that there might be distinctive mechanisms that regulate this protein in the systemic circulation vs. the microenvironment behind the blood-testis barrier in the seminiferous epithelium.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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