ALDH Enzyme Expression Is Independent of the Spermatogenic Cycle, and Their Inhibition Causes Misregulation of Murine Spermatogenic Processes.
ABSTRACT: Perturbations in the vitamin A metabolism pathway could be a significant cause of male infertility, as well as a target toward the development of a male contraceptive, necessitating the need for a better understanding of how testicular retinoic acid (RA) concentrations are regulated. Quantitative analyses have recently demonstrated that RA is present in a pulsatile manner along testis tubules. However, it is unclear if the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzymes, which are responsible for RA synthesis, contribute to the regulation of these RA concentration gradients. Previous studies have alluded to fluctuations in ALDH enzymes across the spermatogenic cycle, but these inferences have been based primarily on qualitative transcript localization experiments. Here, we show via various quantitative methods that the three well-known ALDH enzymes (ALDH1A1, ALDH1A2, and ALDH1A3), and an ALDH enzyme previously unreported in the murine testis (ALDH8A1), are not expressed in a stage-specific manner in the adult testis, but do fluctuate throughout juvenile development in perfect agreement with the first appearance of each advancing germ cell type. We also show, via treatments with a known ALDH inhibitor, that lowered testicular RA levels result in an increase in blood-testis barrier permeability, meiotic recombination, and meiotic defects. Taken together, these data further our understanding of the complex regulatory actions of RA on various spermatogenic events and, in contrast with previous studies, also suggest that the ALDH enzymes are not responsible for regulating the recently measured RA pulse.
Project description:Previous investigators have described the spermatogenic cycles of numerous species of plethodontid salamanders. Most studies describe a fairly stereotypical cycle with meiotic divisions of spermatogenesis commencing in the spring/summer. However, many studies lack details obtainable from histological examination and/or testicular squashes and, instead, provide only mensural data from the testes. Studies that lacked microscopic evaluation often revealed spermatogenic cycles that varied greatly from that of the stereotypical cycle with meiotic divisions commencing in the fall/winter. Those studies hamper comparisons between the spermatogenic cycles of different species and their environments, as they do not provide a correlation between testicular size and any aspect of the spermatogenic cycle. In the following manuscript, we elucidate the spermatogenic cycle of Eurycea longicauda longicauda in an effort to outline an appropriate protocol for analyzing spermatogenesis in salamanders that will facilitate future comparative studies. Like many Nearctic plethodontids, E. l. longicauda exhibits a meiotic wave that travels through the testes during the summer; this process is followed by spermiogenesis, spermiation, and recrudescence in the fall, winter, and spring.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cattleyak are the hybrid offspring between cattle and yak and combine yak hardiness with cattle productivity. Much attempt has been made to examine the mechanisms of male sterility caused by spermatogenic arrest, but yet there is no research systematically and precisely elucidated testis gene expression profiling between cattleyak and yak. METHODS:To explore the higher resolution comparative transcriptome map between the testes of yak and cattleyak, and further analyze the mRNA expression dynamics of spermatogenic arrest in cattleyak. We characterized the comparative transcriptome profile from the testes of yak and cattleyak using high-throughput sequencing. Then we used quantitative analysis to validate several differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in testicular tissue and spermatogenic cells. RESULTS:Testis transcriptome profiling identified 6477 DEGs (2919 upregulated and 3558 downregulated) between cattleyak and yak. Further analysis revealed that the marker genes and apoptosis regulatory genes for undifferentiated spermatogonia were upregulated, while the genes for differentiation maintenance were downregulated in cattleyak. A majority of DEGs associated with mitotic checkpoint, and cell cycle progression were downregulated in cattleyak during spermatogonial mitosis. Furthermore, almost all DEGs related to synaptonemal complex assembly, and meiotic progression presented no sign of expression in cattleyak. Even worse, dozens of genes involved in acrosome formation, and flagellar development were dominantly downregulated in cattleyak. CONCLUSION:DEGs indicated that spermatogenic arrest of cattleyak may originate from the differentiation stage of spermatogonial stem cells and be aggravated during spermatogonial mitosis and spermatocyte meiosis, which contributes to the scarcely presented sperms in cattleyak.
Project description:The spermatogenic cycle describes the periodic development of germ cells in the testicular tissue. The temporal-spatial dynamics of the cycle highlight the unique, complex, and interdependent interaction between germ and somatic cells, and are the key to continual sperm production. Although understanding the spermatogenic cycle has important clinical relevance for male fertility and contraception, there are a number of experimental obstacles. For example, the lengthy process cannot be visualized through dynamic imaging, and the precise action of germ cells that leads to the emergence of testicular morphology remains uncharacterized. Here, we report an agent-based model that simulates the mouse spermatogenic cycle on a cross-section of the seminiferous tubule over a time scale of hours to years, while considering feedback regulation, mitotic and meiotic division, differentiation, apoptosis, and movement. The computer model is able to elaborate the germ cell dynamics in a time-lapse movie format, allowing us to trace individual cells as they change state and location. More importantly, the model provides mechanistic understanding of the fundamentals of male fertility, namely how testicular morphology and sperm production are achieved. By manipulating cellular behaviors either individually or collectively in silico, the model predicts causal events for the altered arrangement of germ cells upon genetic or environmental perturbations. This in silico platform can serve as an interactive tool to perform long-term simulation and to identify optimal approaches for infertility treatment and contraceptive development.
Project description:The development of mammalian fetal germ cells along oogenic or spermatogenic fate trajectories is dictated by signals from the surrounding gonadal environment. Germ cells in the fetal testis enter mitotic arrest, whilst those in the fetal ovary undergo sex-specific entry into meiosis, the initiation of which is thought to be mediated by selective exposure of fetal ovarian germ cells to mesonephros-derived retinoic acid (RA). Aspects of this model are hard to reconcile with the spatiotemporal pattern of germ cell differentiation in the human fetal ovary, however. We have therefore examined the expression of components of the RA synthesis, metabolism and signalling pathways, and their downstream effectors and inhibitors in germ cells around the time of the initiation of meiosis in the human fetal gonad. Expression of the three RA-synthesising enzymes, ALDH1A1, 2 and 3 in the fetal ovary and testis was equal to or greater than that in the mesonephros at 8-9 weeks gestation, indicating an intrinsic capacity within the gonad to synthesise RA. Using immunohistochemistry to detect RA receptors RAR?, ? and RXR?, we find germ cells to be the predominant target of RA signalling in the fetal human ovary, but also reveal widespread receptor nuclear localization indicative of signalling in the testis, suggesting that human fetal testicular germ cells are not efficiently shielded from RA by the action of the RA-metabolising enzyme CYP26B1. Consistent with this, expression of CYP26B1 was greater in the human fetal ovary than testis, although the sexually-dimorphic expression patterns of the germ cell-intrinsic regulators of meiotic initiation, STRA8 and NANOS2, appear conserved. Finally, we demonstrate that RA induces a two-fold increase in STRA8 expression in cultures of human fetal testis, but is not sufficient to cause widespread meiosis-associated gene expression. Together, these data indicate that while local production of RA within the fetal ovary may be important in regulating the onset of meiosis in the human fetal ovary, mechanisms other than CYP26B1-mediated metabolism of RA may exist to inhibit the entry of germ cells into meiosis in the human fetal testis.
Project description:The objective of this study was to investigate the protective effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) on testicular spermatogenic function in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Compared to the control group, blood glucose levels were significantly increased and the insulin resistance was markedly aggravated in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Further, the weight of testis and epididymis and the sperm number and motility were decreased in diabetic rats. Pathological changes were also observed in the spermatogenic tubules, along with a decreased number of spermatogenic cells, downregulated proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression, and increased cell apoptosis in the testes. Compared to the saline-treated diabetic rat group, metformin and LBP treatment significantly decreased the level of blood glucose and improved insulin resistance and testicular function. After treatment with metformin and LBP, the pathological changes in the spermatogenic tubules improved significantly, with an increase in the number of spermatogenic cells, upregulation of PCNA, and suppression of apoptosis in the testes. The expressions of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1?) in diabetic testes were also upregulated by metformin or LBP treatment. In summary, LBP exerted protective effects by increasing cell proliferation, inhibiting cell apoptosis, and regulating SIRT1/HIF-1? expression in the testes of diabetic rats.
Project description:The objective of this study was to compare the testicular development, semen quality, and spermatogenic cell apoptosis of roosters reared in colony, single, and large cages. Rohman parental layers (n = 540) were randomly allocated into cages of rearing system groups (135 males and 405 females). The experimental period was 70 to 210 d of age. We compared testicular development and plasma main reproductive hormones (Follicle-stimulating hormone; Luteinizing hormone; Testosterone; Estrogen2;) from d 70 to 210 of roosters among the three systems. In addition, routine semen quality indexes, apoptosis of testicular spermatogenic cells and sperm apoptosis of breeding roosters under three rearing systems on d 175 and d 210 were evaluated. Roosters during the growing period (from d 70 to 140) have rapid testis growth and increasing main reproductive hormones in plasma. At the peak of sexual maturity (d 210), in colony cage, the females have a positive effect and promote the testis development of males. However, the stocking density in colony cage has no effect on testicular development; compared with the single and large cage. Roosters reared in the natural mating system had better semen quality, particularly in semen volume, density, and viability; the hatching % of fertilized eggs and healthy chicks were higher for the colony than single and large cages. Furthermore, the sperm density was higher for colony than single and large cages, which was related to the apoptosis of spermatogonia and spermatocyte, not the apoptosis of mature sperm. This study provided the basic data for the reproductive performance research of chicken reared in the colony cages.
Project description:Male infertility is most commonly caused by spermatogenic defects or insufficiencies, the majority of which are as yet cureless. Recently, we succeeded in cultivating mouse testicular tissues for producing fertile sperm from spermatogonial stem cells. Here, we show that one of the most severe types of spermatogenic defect mutant can be treated by the culture method without any genetic manipulations. The Sl/Sl(d) mouse is used as a model of such male infertility. The testis of the Sl/Sl(d) mouse has only primitive spermatogonia as germ cells, lacking any sign of spermatogenesis owing to mutations of the c-kit ligand (KITL) gene that cause the loss of membrane-bound-type KITL from the surface of Sertoli cells. To compensate for the deficit, we cultured testis tissues of Sl/Sl(d) mice with a medium containing recombinant KITL and found that it induced the differentiation of spermatogonia up to the end of meiosis. We further discovered that colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) enhances the effect of KITL and promotes spermatogenesis up to the production of sperm. Microinsemination of haploid cells resulted in delivery of healthy offspring. This study demonstrated that spermatogenic impairments can be treated in vitro with the supplementation of certain factors or substances that are insufficient in the original testes.
Project description:The present investigation was undertaken to increase our insight into the molecular basis of the physiological changes in rat testis induced by food withdrawal, and to clarify whether reduced testicular function can be ameliorated by mild exercise. Male rats were selected for four separate experiments. The first of each group was chow-fed, the second was chow-fed and submitted to exercise (5 bouts in total for 30 min at 15 m/min, and 0° inclination), the third was submitted to food withdrawal (66 h) and the fourth was submitted to food withdrawal and to exercise. At the end of experiments, we investigated (i) serum and testicular sex hormone levels; (ii) protein levels of StAR, 3?-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3?-HSD) and P450 aromatase, which play a key role in steroid hormone biosynthesis; and (iii) protein levels of mitotic and meiotic markers of spermatogenesis in rats, in relation to testis morphology and morphometry. We found that mild exercise or food withdrawal alone induced a significant increase or decrease in both serum and testis testosterone levels, respectively. Interestingly, we found that these levels were brought back to basal levels when food withdrawal was combined with mild exercise. The changes in testosterone levels observed in our experimental groups correlated well with the expression of steroidogenic enzymes as well as with spermatogenic activity. With mild exercise the increased testosterone/17?-estradiol (T/E2) ratio in the testis correlated with an increased spermatogenic activity. The T/E2 ratio dropped in fasted rats and was significantly reversed when food withdrawal was combined with exercise. Histological and morphometric analyses confirmed that spermatogenic activity varied in concomitance with each experimental condition. Importantly, the testis and serum T/E2 ratios correlated, confirming that exercise rescues the decline in food withdrawal-induced spermatogenesis. In conclusion, this study highlights that mild exercise normalizes the reduced spermatogenic activity caused by food withdrawal through the modulation of the steroidogenic pathway and restoring the T/E2 ratio, underlining the beneficial effects of mild exercise on the prevention and/or amelioration of reduced testis function caused by restricted caloric intake.
Project description:Tomcats are considered to be adults at 1 year of age, although many reach sexual maturity at an earlier age. Nevertheless, we still know little about whether the spermatogenic activity and sperm quality of mature under one-year-old tomcats differ from those of tomcats that are over one-year-old. This study aims to evaluate the spermatogenic activity, sperm traits, and their relationships in mature tomcats at two different ages. Sixteen tomcats showing complete spermatogenesis and spermatozoa in their epididymal caudae were used and classified according to their age as post-pubertal (<1 year old) or adult (˃1 year old). Our results show that adult cats have higher epididymal sperm concentration and lower coefficient of variation in sperm head width and ellipticity than post-pubertal cats. However, they do not differ in their testicular and epididymal mass, spermatogenesis, and sperm traits such as motility, mitochondrial activity, morphology, morphometry, as well as plasma membrane, acrosome, and DNA integrity. Reduced intra-male variation of sperm head ellipticity is associated with higher testis mass, epididymis mass, and sperm concentration. Interestingly, low intra-male variation in sperm head size is associated with increased Sertoli cell function and reduced post-meiotic germ cell loss. These findings increase our knowledge about feline reproductive physiology and provide new insights into the functional significance of low intra-male variation in sperm size and shape in tomcats.
Project description:The aim of this study was to assess the cellular miRNA expression behaviour in testes with spermatogenic failure (SpF). We performed a high-throughput screen of 623 mature miRNAs by a quantitative RT-qPCR-based approach in histologically well-defined testicular samples with spermatogenic disruption at different germ-cell stages, which revealed altered patterns of miRNA expression. We focussed on the differentially expressed miRNAs whose expression correlated with the number of testicular mature germ-cells and described the combined expression values of a panel of three miRNAs (miR-449a, miR-34c-5p and miR-122) as a predictive test for the presence of mature germ-cells in testicular biopsy. Additionally, we determined decreased cellular miRNA content in developing germ-cells of SpF testis; this was more noticeable the earlier the stage of germ-cell differentiation was affected by maturation failure. Furthermore, we showed that the miRNA expression profile in mature sperm from mild SpF patients was widely altered. Our results suggest that the cellular miRNA content of developed germ-cells depends heavily on the efficacy of the spermatogenic process. What is more, spermatozoa that have fulfilled the differentiation process still retain the dysregulated miRNA pattern observed in the developing SpF germ-cells. This altered miRNA molecular signature may have functional implications for the male gamete.