Influence of a leptin deficiency on testicular morphology, germ cell apoptosis, and expression levels of apoptosis-related genes in the mouse.
ABSTRACT Leptin-deficient (ob/ob) male mice are morbidly obese and exhibit impaired reproductive function. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of a leptin deficiency on testicular morphology, germ cell development, apoptotic activity within germ cells, and expression levels of apoptosis-related genes in the testis. Sixteen week-old ob/ob male mice (n = 8) and controls (n = 8) were killed, and their reproductive organs were weighed. Testes were processed for either histomorphological analysis (hematoxylin and eosin [H&E] staining), germ cell apoptosis assessment (deoxy-UTP-digoxigenin nick end labeling [TUNEL] method), or apoptosis-related gene expression analysis (microarray). Cross sections of the testes of leptin-deficient animals showed reduced seminiferous tubule area, fewer pachytene spermatocytes, and fewer tubules exhibiting elongated spermatids/mature spermatozoa. Condensation of germ cell nuclei and Sertoli cell vacuolization were evident in the testes of some ob/ob animals. Overall there was an elevation of apoptotic activity in the germ cells of ob/ob mice, particularly within the pachytene spermatocytes. With microarray technology, we identified 9 proapoptosis-related genes that were expressed at a significantly higher level in the testes of ob/ob mice than in the testes of the controls. Among these were members of the tumor necrosis factor receptor super family 1A and 5 (TNFR1 and 5) and peptidoglycan recognition proteins (associated with the extrinsic apoptotic pathway), and granzymes A and B, growth arrest and DNA damage inducible 45 gamma, sphingosine phosphate lyase 1, and caspase 9 (associated with the intrinsic apoptotic pathway). The results of the current study show that a leptin deficiency in mice is associated with impaired spermatogenesis, increased germ cell apoptosis, and up-regulated expression of proapoptotic genes within the testes.
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies have proposed the involvement of caspase-3, a downstream executioner enzyme common to many paradigms of programmed cell death (PCD), in mediating the apoptosis of both germ and somatic cells in the ovary. Herein we used caspase-3 gene knockout mice to directly test for the functional requirement of this protease in oocyte and/or granulosa cell demise. Using both in vivo and in vitro approaches, we determined that oocyte death initiated as a result of either developmental cues or pathological insults was unaffected by the absence of caspase-3. However, granulosa cells of degenerating antral follicles in both mouse and human ovaries showed a strong immunoreaction using an antibody raised against the cleaved (activated) form of caspase-3. Furthermore, caspase-3 mutant female mice possessed aberrant atretic follicles containing granulosa cells that failed to be eliminated by apoptosis, as confirmed by TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxy-UTP nick end labeling) analysis of DNA cleavage and 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining of nuclear morphology (pyknosis). These in vivo results were supported by findings from in vitro cultures of wild-type and caspase-3-deficient antral follicles or isolated granulosa cells. Contrasting the serum starvation-induced occurrence of apoptosis in wild-type granulosa cells, caspase-3-null granulosa cells deprived of hormonal support were TUNEL-negative, showed attenuated chromatin condensation by 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining and exhibited delayed internucleosomal DNA cleavage. Such ex vivo findings underscore the existence of a cell autonomous (granulosa cell intrinsic) defect in apoptosis execution resulting from caspase-3 deficiency. We conclude that caspase-3 is functionally required for granulosa cell apoptosis during follicular atresia, but that the enzyme is dispensable for germ cell apoptosis in the female.Endocrinology 07/2001; 142(6):2468-80. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In this study we describe the cloning of a human gene, encoding a protein that shares 90% identity and 93% similarity at the primary structure level, with the mouse Pim-2 gene. The gene was designated hPim-2. Structural features suggest that like the mouse Pim-2, hPim-2 is also a serine threonine kinase. At the RNA level, two hPim-2 transcripts were identified. The first, 2.2 kb, is highly expressed in hematopoietic tissues and in leukemic and lymphoma cell lines (K-562, HL-60 and RAJI). It also shows considerable high levels in testis, small intestine, colon and human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells (SW480). A second transcript, 5.0 kb in size, could be detected only in spleen, thymus, small intestine and colon and in the K-562 and RAJI cell lines. In situ hybridization analysis of biopsies taken from testes of men with complete or partial spermatogenesis revealed that the gene is expressed in primary spermatocytes. In the absence of germ cells, signal could be detected over specific cells in the well developed interstitial region. These results suggest a role for hPim-2 in proliferating cells as well as during meiosis. A possible connection between hPim-2 and apoptosis is discussed.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/1998; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several recent studies have demonstrated that expression of the tumour-suppressor gene p53 increases within the nervous system after injury. In various cell lines wild-type-p53, induced by DNA damage, has been shown to function to halt cell-cycle progression and under certain circumstances to induce programmed-cell death or apoptosis. Since wild type-p53 can act as a transcription factor to regulate the expression of p53-responsive genes it is possible that either, or both, functions of p53 are mediated by down-stream effector genes. However wild-type-p53 only weakly activates transcription and it remains to be determined whether p53-responsive genes are expressed in lesioned brain. Here we report that excitotoxic lesion of rat brain with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor agonist, quinolinic acid, induces expression of p53 messenger RNA and protein in brain regions showing delayed DNA fragmentation and that expression of p53 messenger RNA precedes DNA damage detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labelling. In addition, using in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry we demonstrate increased expression of the p53-responsive gene Gadd-45 (preceding p53 expression) and re-expression of the p53-responsive gene Bax (following p53 expression), in these same areas. Bax has been shown to promote neuronal death by interacting with Bcl-2 family members while Gadd-45 expression has been associated with suppression of the cell-cycle and DNA repair. These results suggest that p53 protein may function as an active transcription factor in lesioned brain perhaps initiating the re-expression of Bax in injured brain regions. However, since Gadd-45 precedes p53 expression it appears unlikely that p53 is involved in regulating the early expression of Gadd-45. Taken together however, these results suggest that p53, Bax and Gadd-45 may play important roles in the response (damage/recovery) of the brain following excitotoxic injury.Neuroscience 11/1996; 74(4):1143-60. · 3.12 Impact Factor