Modulation of MAA-induced apoptosis in male germ cells: Role of Sertoli cell P/Q-type calcium channels

Fortunata Barone, Salvatore Aguanno, Angela D'Agostino

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Spontaneous germ cell death by apoptosis occurs during normal spermatogenesis in mammals and is thought to play a role in the physiological mechanism limiting the clonal expansion of such cell population in the male gonad. In the prepubertal rat testis, the most conspicuous dying cells are pachytene spermatocytes, which are also the primary target of the apoptosis experimentally induced by the methoxyacetic acid (MAA). Since we have recently reported that Sertoli cells, the somatic component of the seminiferous epithelium, regulate not only germ cell viability and differentiation but also their death, we have further investigated the mechanism involved in such a control. In this paper we have used the protein clusterin, produced by Sertoli cells and associated with tissue damage or injury, as indicator of germ cell apoptosis in rat seminiferous tubules treated with MAA in the presence or in the absence of omega-agatoxin, a specific inhibitor of P/Q type voltage-operated calcium channels (VOCC's). We performed both a qualitative analysis of clusterin content and germ cell apoptosis by immunofluorescence experiments and a quantitative analysis by in situ end labelling of apoptotic germ cells followed by flow cytometry. The results obtained demonstrate that Sertoli cells modulate germ cell apoptosis induced by methoxyacetic acid also throughout the P/Q-type VOCC's. © 2005 Barone et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)-
JournalReproductive Biology and Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine(all)

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