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Reproduction. 2012 Apr;143(4):523-9. doi: 10.1530/REP-11-0464. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Stimulation of Sertoli cell proliferation: defining the response interval to an inhibitor of estrogen synthesis in the boar.

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Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Sertoli cell proliferation occurs in two major waves after birth, one neonatally and another prepubertally, each contributing to final testicular size and sperm production. However, little is known about the regulation of either wave. We have previously shown that letrozole, an inhibitor of estrogen synthesis, increases Sertoli cell number and testicular size at sexual maturity in boars. These studies were conducted to determine whether letrozole affects the first or second proliferative wave. Boars were treated with letrozole during the first wave (treatment at 1, 3, and 5 weeks), less frequently (1 week of age only, or 1 and 5 weeks), on postnatal day 1, or during the second wave (weeks 11-16). Sertoli cells were enumerated in testes and estrogen concentrations were evaluated in serum and testes. Compared with vehicle controls, letrozole reduced estrogen in boars treated at weeks 1 and 5 or 1, 3, and 5, on postnatal day 1, or prepubertally. However, Sertoli cell numbers were increased only in boars treated at 1, 3, and 5 weeks of age. Neither perinatal (1 day old) nor prepubertal letrozole treatment affected Sertoli cell numbers. Hence, Sertoli cell proliferation was sensitive to letrozole only if letrozole was administered throughout the first wave, even though estrogen synthesis was effectively inhibited at all ages. These data indicate that the neonatal but not the prepubertal window of Sertoli cell proliferation is sensitive to an inhibitor of estrogen synthesis; this suggests that these two waves are differently regulated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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