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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2006;44(2):81-6.

Loss and recovery of androgen receptor protein expression in the adult rat testis following androgen withdrawal by ethane dimethanesulfonate.

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Institute of Experimental Morphology and Anthropology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria.


Androgens are especially important for the maintenance of spermatogenesis in adulthood and the experimental withdrawal of testosterone (T) production by ethane dimenthanesulfonate (EDS) is a valuable tool for studying androgen-dependent events of spermatogenesis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the specific changes in immunoexpression of androgen receptor (AR) in the testis in relation to degeneration and regeneration of Leydig cell (LC) population and seminiferous epithelium. Immunohistochemistry for AR and 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) as well as TUNEL assay for apoptosis were performed on testicular sections of control and EDS-treated rats. Serum LH and T levels were measured by RIA. Our results revealed a total loss of AR immunoexpression from the nuclei of Sertoli (SCs), LCs and peritubular cells during the first week after EDS administration and that coincided with severe drop in T levels. Two weeks after EDS administration, the AR expression was recovered in these cells but normal stage-specificity in SCs was replaced by uniform intensity of AR immunostaining at all the stages of the spermatogenic cycle. The stage-specific pattern of androgen expression in SCs with a maximum at stages VII-VIII appeared 5 weeks after treatment. LC immunoreactivity for 3beta-HSD at different time points after EDS administration correlated with values of T concentration. The maximal germ cell apoptosis on day 7 was followed by total loss of elongated spermatids 2 weeks after EDS treatment. Regeneration of seminiferous epithelium 3 weeks after EDS administration and onwards occurred in tandem with the development of new LC population indicated by the appearance of 3beta-HSD-positive cells and gradual increase in T production. The specific changes in AR after EDS including their loss and recovery in Sertoli cells paralleled with degenerative and regenerative events in Leydig and germ cell populations, confirming close functional relationship between Sertoli, Leydig and germ cells.

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