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Regul Pept. 2010 Sep 24;164(2-3):53-7. doi: 10.1016/j.regpep.2010.06.011. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Novel localization of orexin A in the tubular cytotypes of the rat testis.

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  • 1Department of Biological Structures, Functions and Technologies, University of Naples Federico II, Via F. Delpino 1, 80137 Naples, Italy.


The hypothalamic peptides orexin A (OXA) and orexin B (OXB), deriving from the proteolytic cleavage of the precursor molecule prepro-orexin, have also been localized in multiple cerebral areas and peripheral organs. They regulate food intake, arterial blood pressure, heart rate, sleep/wake cycle, sexual behavior, arousal, and the hypothalamic/hypophyseal axes. Prepro-orexin mRNA expression and OXA-immunoreactivity were previously detected in the rat testis at different ages of postnatal development, with strong peptide signal in Leydig cells and spermatocytes. In this study, OXA-immunoreactivity was found in Sertoli cells and spermatids of rat testis. Hematoxylin-counterstained sections revealed OXA positive spermatids in the stages of the germinal epithelium cycle ranging from the VIIth to the XIVth. The expression of prepro-orexin mRNA and of the protein in the testis tissue was ascertained by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting analysis, respectively. Although the functional role of OXA in the male genital tract still remains to be elucidated, our findings provide the first evidence that Sertoli cells, belonging to the tubular compartment of testis, represent an important source of OXA, thus suggesting the potential involvement of the peptide in the control of seminiferous epithelium development.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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