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Cell Transplant. 2008;17(5):525-34.

Sertoli cell line lacks the immunoprotective properties associated with primary Sertoli cells.

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Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA.


Sertoli cells are important for maintenance of the immune privileged environment of the testis and prolong survival of cotransplanted cells. The objective of the current study was to examine the immunoprotective properties of a mouse Sertoli cell line (MSC-1) in order to identify a Sertoli cell line that could be used to aid in investigation of the immunoprotective abilities of Sertoli cells. BALB/c islets were cotransplanted with 0-9 million primary BALB/c Sertoli cells or MSC-1 cells into diabetic C3H or BALB/c mice and protection of grafted islets was examined by monitoring blood glucose levels and immunohistochemical analysis. Additionally, expression of potential immunoprotective factors in MSC-1 cells was examined. Cotransplantation of islets with 3 million primary Sertoli cells significantly prolonged islet allograft survival (61.1 +/- 6.9 days; p < 0.05) compared with control mice that received allogeneic islets alone (26.9 +/- 2.1 days). Grafts collected from normoglycemic C3H mice at 100 days posttransplant contained insulin-positive beta-cells adjacent to allogeneic Sertoli cells arranged in tubule-like structures. In contrast, cotransplantation of islet allografts with MSC-1 cells did not prolong islet survival (average 29.8 +/- 3.3 days) regardless of the number of MSC-1 cells transplanted and the rejected grafts contained very few beta-cells and randomly arranged MSC-1 cells. The lack of islet cell survival was not due to detrimental effects of MSC-1 cells because syngneic islets cotransplanted with MSC-1 cells were functional throughout the study. MSC-1 cells were found to express known Sertoli cell-expressed, immunoprotective factors, clusterin, Fas ligand, and transforming growth factor-beta1, suggesting additional factors may be involved in Sertoli cell immune privilege. These data indicate the MSC-1 cell line lacks the immunoprotective properties associated with primary Sertoli cells. Further study of this cell line could be useful in examining the mechanisms that enable Sertoli cells to provide immune privilege.

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