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J Endocrinol Invest. 2000 Jun;23(6):369-75.

Immunofluorescence distribution of actin-associated proteins in human seminiferous tubules of adolescent testes, normal and pathologic.

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  • 1Department of Biomorphology, University of Messina, Italy.


The aim of our study on human seminiferous tubules of adolescent testes was to study the localization of two actin-associated proteins of the adherens junctions, such as vinculin and talin, and to verify if there were modifications in their pattern in varicocele, a frequent disease of the testis in adolescent age. The study group consisted of 8 biopsies from normal testes (i.e., adolescents operated on for hydrocele or inguinal hernia) and 20 biopsies from pathological testes (i.e., adolescents operated on for idiophatic left varicocele). Biopsies were evaluated by indirect immunofluorescence using anti-human vinculin and anti-human talin antibodies. Observation was recorded with a Leica TCS 4D upright confocal microscope. In the normal testes, there was a strong positive immunoreactivity for vinculin, which was localized in the interstitial cells of Leydig, and both basal pole and lateral cell surface of Sertoli cells; the pattern of talin immunoreactivity was the same except that the lateral cell surface of Sertoli cells was not stained. In the varicocele group the pattern was different. Vinculin immunoreactivity showed small patches of fluorescence only in the cytoplasm of Sertoli cells while talin immunoreactivity showed a scanty distribution at the basal surface of Sertoli cells. These results confirm that, similarly to other tissues, vinculin is expressed at cell-cell and cell-matrix adherens junctions, while talin is present at cell-matrix adherens junctions in human seminiferous tubules of normal adolescents. Varicocele alters the patterns of these two proteins both quantitatively and qualitatively.

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