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Reproduction. 2012 Jan 1;143(1):45-57. doi: 10.1530/REP-11-0290. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Differential marker protein expression specifies rarefaction zone-containing human Adark spermatogonia.

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Department of Andrology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, Hamburg, Germany.


It is unclear whether the distinct nuclear morphologies of human A(dark) (Ad) and A(pale) (Ap) spermatogonia are manifestations of different stages of germ cell development or phases of the mitotic cycle, or whether they may reflect still unknown molecular differences. According to the classical description by Clermont, human dark type A spermatogonium (Ad) may contain one, sometimes two or three nuclear 'vacuolar spaces' representing chromatin rarefaction zones. These structures were readily discerned in paraffin sections of human testis tissue during immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence analyses and thus represented robust morphological markers for our study. While a majority of the marker proteins tested did not discriminate between spermatogonia with and without chromatin rarefaction zones, doublesex- and mab-3-related transcription factor (DMRT1), tyrosine kinase receptor c-Kit/CD117 (KIT) and proliferation-associated antigen Ki-67 (KI-67) appeared to be restricted to subtypes which lacked the rarefaction zones. Conversely, exosome component 10 (EXOSC10) was found to accumulate within the rarefaction zones, which points to a possible role of this nuclear domain in RNA processing.

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