Testicular Development in Mice Lacking Receptors for Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Androgen
by Peter J. O’Shaughnessy, Ana Monteiro, Margaret Abel
Post-natal testicular development is dependent on gonadotrophin and androgen stimulation. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) acts through receptors (FSHR) on the Sertoli cell to stimulate spermatogenesis while androgens promote testis growth through receptors (AR) on the Sertoli cells, Leydig cells and peritubular myoid cells. In this study we have examined the effects on testis development of ablating FSHRs (FSHRKO mice) and/or ARs ubiquitously (ARKO mice) or specifically on the Sertoli cells (SCARKO mice). Cell numbers were measured using stereological methods. In ARKO mice Sertoli cell numbers were reduced at all ages from birth until adulthood. FSHR ablation also caused small reductions in Sertoli cell numbers up to day 20 with more marked effects seen in the adult. Germ cell numbers were unaffected by FSHR and/or AR ablation at birth. By day 20 ubiquitous AR or FSHR ablation caused a marked reduction in germ cell numbers with a synergistic effect of losing both receptors (germ cell numbers in FSHRKO.ARKO mice were 3% of control). Germ cell numbers in SCARKO mice were less affected. By adulthood, in contrast, clear synergistic control of germ cell numbers had become established between the actions of FSH and androgen through the Sertoli cells. Leydig cell numbers were normal on day 1 and day 5 in all groups. By day 20 and in adult animals total AR or FSHR ablation significantly reduced Leydig cell numbers but Sertoli cell specific AR ablation had no effect. Results show that, prior to puberty, development of most testicular parameters is more dependent on FSH action than androgen action mediated through the Sertoli cells although androgen action through other cells types is crucial. Post-pubertally, germ cell numbers and spermatogenesis are dependent on FSH and androgen action through the Sertoli cells.
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Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
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