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Endocrinology. 2013 Mar;154(3):1310-20. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1886. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Follistatin-like 3 (FSTL3) mediated silencing of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling is essential for testicular aging and regulating testis size.

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Lifestyle Research Group, Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London, United Kingdom.


Follistatin-like 3 (FSTL3) is a glycoprotein that binds and inhibits the action of TGFβ ligands such as activin. The roles played by FSTL3 and activin signaling in organ development and homeostasis are not fully understood. The authors show mice deficient in FSTL3 develop markedly enlarged testes that are also delayed in their age-related regression. These FSTL3 knockout mice exhibit increased Sertoli cell numbers, allowing for increased spermatogenesis but otherwise showing normal testicular function. The data show that FSTL3 deletion leads to increased AKT signaling and SIRT1 expression in the testis. This demonstrates a cross-talk between TGFβ ligand and AKT signaling and leads to a potential mechanism for increased cellular survival and antiaging. The findings identify crucial roles for FSTL3 in limiting testis organ size and promoting age-related testicular regression.

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