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Estrogen-dependent and -independent estrogen receptor-alpha signaling separately regulate male fertility.

ABSTRACT: Estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) plays a critical role in male reproductive tract development and fertility. To determine whether estrogen-dependent and -independent ERalpha mechanisms are involved in male fertility, we examined male estrogen nonresponsive ERalpha knock-in mice. These animals have a point mutation (G525L) in the ligand-binding domain of ERalpha that significantly reduces interaction with, and response to, endogenous estrogens but does not affect growth factor activation of ligand-independent ERalpha pathways. Surprisingly, we found that ligand-independent ERalpha signaling is essential for concentrating epididymal sperm via regulation of efferent ductule fluid reabsorption. In contrast, estrogen-dependent ERalpha signaling is required for germ cell viability, most likely through support of Sertoli cell function. By treating estrogen nonresponsive ERalpha knock-in (ENERKI) mice with the ERalpha selective synthetic agonist propyl pyrazole triol, which is able to bind and activate G525L ERalpha in vivo, we discovered male fertility required neonatal estrogen-mediated ERalpha signaling. Thus, our work indicates both estrogen-dependent and -independent pathways play separable roles in male murine reproductive tract development and that the role of ERalpha in human infertility should be examined more closely.

SUBMITTER: Sinkevicius KW 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2689797 | BioStudies | 2009-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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