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Arch Androl. 2003 Mar-Apr;49(2):95-105.

Glutathione-related enzymes in cell cultures from different regions of human epididymis.

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Physiology and Biophysics Program, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Protection of maturing sperm from potential endogenous or exogenous harmful substances during their transit throughout the epididymis is a critical event. The authors studied the activity of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) and glutathione S-transferase (GST), and glutathione (GSH) levels in epithelial cell cultures from human caput, corpus, and cauda epididymides. Tissue was obtained from patients undergoing therapeutic orchidectomy for prostatic cancer. Enzymatic activity was measured in conditioned media and cellular fractions. Androgen influence was also evaluated. Both enzymatic activities were found in cellular homogenates and conditioned media from cultures of all epididymal regions. GGT activity was highest in cultures from cauda epididymis, both in conditioned media and cell fractions, while GST activity did not show regional differences in conditioned media, but exhibited higher activity in cell homogenates from cauda cultures than those obtained from corpus and caput epididymis. GSH level showed no regional difference in cell homogenates and it could not be detected in conditioned media by the method used. Presence of different concentrations of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) had no influence neither on the enzymatic activities nor GSH concentration. The results indicate that GGT and GST are present along the human epididymis and a fraction or isoform of these enzymes might be secreted to the luminal fluid to play a detoxificative role in sperm maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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