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Endocrinology. 1999 Jun;140(6):2746-54.

Germ cell-specific cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate response element modulator expression in rodent and primate testis is maintained despite gonadotropin deficiency.

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Institute of Reproductive Medicine of the University, Munster, Germany.


cAMP response element modulator (CREM) is an important component of the cAMP-mediated signaling pathway and is essential for differentiation of haploid male germ cells. In the rodent, testicular expression of CREM is believed to be controlled by FSH. We studied the expression pattern of CREM and gonadotropic control in the nonhuman primate and rodent testis. Adult cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) received daily either vehicle or the potent GnRH antagonist (ANT) cetrorelix for periods of 25 and 56 days. Rats were also exposed to vehicle or ANT for periods of 14 and 42 days. ANT treatment suppressed pituitary gonadotropin secretion, reduced testis size, and altered spermatogenesis. A rabbit polyclonal antibody raised against recombinant CREM tau and reacting with CREM alpha, -beta, -gamma, -tau1, and -tau2 at similar affinities was used for immunocytochemistry and Western blotting. CREM expression was seen in round spermatids, with highest levels during spermatogenic stages V-VII, but declined with progression of spermatid development in the primate. Similar observations were made for the rat testis. Thus, CREM expression was maximal at the onset of acrosome formation and was low or undetectable upon initiation of spermatid elongation in both species. A weak, but specific, CREM signal was seen in mid- to late pachytene spermatocytes and during meiotic division in both species. After ANT exposure, the germ cell- and stage-specific pattern of CREM expression was quantitatively retained at all time points and in both species. Northern and Western blot analysis confirmed the maintenance of testicular CREM expression despite 25 days of ANT treatment. A retrospective immunocytochemical analysis of rat testes 14 days posthypophysectomy revealed CREM signals in round spermatids. These findings demonstrate that the testicular expression of CREM is not entirely dependent on gonadotropic hormones but, rather, on the maturational stage of haploid round germ cells.

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