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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2018 Jul;30(8):1137-1144. doi: 10.1071/RD17409.

Loss of hamster Leydig cells during regression after exposure to a short photoperiod.

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Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Aging Institute, IMIB-Arrixaca, School of Medicine, Regional Campus of International Excellence 'Campus Mare Nostrum', University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the changes that occur in hamster Leydig cells during regression. Animals were divided into control, mild regression (MR), strong regression (SR) and total regression (TR) groups. Leydig cells were characterised by light and electron microscopy. Terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick end-labelling (TUNEL) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) antibodies were used to detect apoptosis and proliferation respectively. Three types of Leydig cells (A, B and C) could be differentiated. Type A cells were small in size compared with Leydig cells from animals exposed to a long photoperiod, which was a result of a decreased cytoplasm and nucleus. Type B cells were even smaller than Type A cells in regression groups. Type C exhibited cytoplasm vacuolisation. The percentage of Type C cells from the control group was much lower than in the MR, SR and TR groups. (P<0.05). In the SR and TR groups, there was a significant decrease in the percentage of Type B cells compared with the control and MR groups (P<0.05). The total number of Leydig cells decreased during testicular regression (P<0.05). The total number of Type A and B cells was significantly lower in the MR, SR and TR groups compared with the control group (P<0.05). There were no significant differences in the proliferation and apoptosis index in the groups studied. The findings of the present study indicate that there are three types of Leydig cells (A, B and C) in all hamsters studied and that regression causes an increase in the number of Type C cells, so that the reduction in the number Leydig cells during the phases of regression studied must be the result of necrosis and/or necroptosis.


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