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Anim Reprod Sci. 2012 Nov;135(1-4):106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2012.09.003. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Role for endogenous estrogen in prepubertal Sertoli cell maturation.

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University of California, Davis, USA.


Reducing prepubertal endogenous estrogens led to increased numbers of Sertoli cells and the associated increased testicular size and testicular sperm production capacity in boars. The increased number of Sertoli cells might be due to a longer time for proliferation; delayed differentiation of Sertoli cells during suppressed endogenous estrogens would be consistent with this hypothesized, prolonged proliferation interval. This study used immunohistochemical detection of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), a marker of immature Sertoli cells, and of CDKN1B, a cell cycle inhibitor associated with more mature Sertoli cells, to determine if suppressing endogenous estrogens detectably delayed "differentiation" of porcine Sertoli cells. Testes were from littermate pairs of boars previously treated with Letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, or vehicle, from the first week of age until tissue collection at 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 months of age. Four animals were examined at each age following Letrozole treatment and their corresponding littermates evaluated following treatment with vehicle. Amount of AMH protein in Sertoli cells decreased with age of boar and could not be detected at 6 months of age. The AMH labeling was greater in the Letrozole-treated boars compared with littermate vehicle controls at 4 months of age (P=0.03). The percentage of CDKN1B-labeled Sertoli cells apparently increased with age through 5 months of age. At 4 and 5 months of age, the mean percentage of CDKN1B-labeled Sertoli cells was less in the Letrozole-treated animals than in the vehicle control animals (P = 0.03 and 0.04, respectively). These results are consistent with the hypothesis that continual inhibition of aromatase (and concomitatant reduced estrogen synthesis) causes a delay in Sertoli cell maturation in boars.

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