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BMC Cell Biol. 2010 Oct 18;11:78. doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-11-78.

GDNF stimulates the proliferation of cultured mouse immature Sertoli cells via its receptor subunit NCAM and ERK1/2 signaling pathway.

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State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China.



The proliferation and final density of Sertoli cells in the testis are regulated by hormones and local factors. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a distantly related member of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily, and its receptor subunits GDNF family receptor alpha 1 (GFRα1), RET tyrosine kinase, and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) have been reported to be expressed in the testis and involved in the regulation of proliferation of immature Sertoli cells (ISCs). However, the expression patterns of these receptor subunits and the downstream signaling pathways have not been addressed in ISCs.


In the present study, we have reported that the proliferation of cultured ISCs was significantly enhanced by GDNF. The receptor subunits GFRα1 and NCAM but not RET were expressed in ISCs, and the stimulatory effect of GDNF on the proliferation of ISCs was significantly reduced by anti-NCAM antibody blocking or siRNA that specifically targets NCAM mRNA. Additionally, the ERK1/2 inhibitor, PD98059, completely abolished the mitogenic effect of GDNF on ISCs.


GDNF stimulates the proliferation of ISCs via its receptor subunit NCAM and the consequent activation of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.

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