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An Acad Bras Cienc. 2009 Sep;81(3):321-44.

Expression and function of G-protein-coupled receptors in the male reproductive tract.

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Setor de Endocrinologia Experimental, Departamento de Farmacologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Escola Paulista de Medicina, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.


This review focuses on the expression and function of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs), alpha1-adrenoceptors and relaxin receptors in the male reproductive tract. The localization and differential expression of mAChR and alpha1-adrenoceptor subtypes in specific compartments of the efferent ductules, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicle and prostate of various species indicate a role for these receptors in the modulation of luminal fluid composition and smooth muscle contraction, including effects on male fertility. Furthermore, the activation of mAChRs induces transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the Sertoli cell proliferation. The relaxin receptors are present in the testis, RXFP1 in elongated spermatids and Sertoli cells from rat, and RXFP2 in Leydig and germ cells from rat and human, suggesting a role for these receptors in the spermatogenic process. The localization of both receptors in the apical portion of epithelial cells and smooth muscle layers of the vas deferens suggests an involvement of these receptors in the contraction and regulation of secretion.

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