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Fertil Steril. 2005 Jan;83(1):86-94.

Effect of experimental varicocele on the expressions of Notch 1, 2, and 3 in rat testes: an immunohistochemical study.

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Department of Histology, Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine, Antalya, Turkey.



To study expressions of Notch receptor isoforms (Notch 1, 2, and 3) in normal and varicocele-induced rat testes to examine their possible functions in cell fate.


Comparative and controlled study.


Animal Care and Operation Unit, Akdeniz University.


Wistar male rats for experimental and control groups.


The control group underwent a sham operation (n = 6). The experimental groups underwent partial ligation of the renal vein to induce an experimental varicocele and then were killed 9 (n = 6), 11 (n = 6), and 13 (n = 6) weeks after the induction of varicocele.


All tissues were fixed and routinely processed for paraffin embedding. Subsequent immunohistochemical studies were performed.


In the sham-operation rat testes, Leydig cells and elongated spermatids were immunopositive for Notch 1. Notch-2 expression was present in Leydig cells, spermatogonia, and primary spermatocytes. Notch-3 expression was limited to Leydig cells. Varicocele formation diminished the expression of both Notch-1 and Notch-2 receptors as the varicocele formation progressed over time.


The present study suggests that Notch 1 is related to the maturation of spermatids. Notch 2 is related to both proliferation and maturation of spermatogenic cells, whereas Notch 3 seems to be related to Leydig cell functions. The decrease of both Notch-1 and Notch-2 expression depended on the degree of varicocele development over time, indicating a potential role in varicocele-associated testicular dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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