[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Can human Sertoli cells cultured in vitro and that have formed an epithelium be used as a model to monitor toxicant-induced junction disruption and to better understand the mechanism(s) by which toxicants disrupt cell adhesion at the Sertoli cell blood-testis barrier (BTB)?
Our findings illustrate that human Sertoli cells cultured in vitro serve as a reliable system to monitor the impact of environmental toxicants on the BTB function.
Suspicions of a declining trend in semen quality and a concomitant increase in exposures to environmental toxicants over the past decades reveal the need of an in vitro system that efficiently and reliably monitors the impact of toxicants on male reproductive function. Furthermore, studies in rodents have confirmed that environmental toxicants impede Sertoli cell BTB function in vitro and in vivo.
We examined the effects of two environmental toxicants: cadmium chloride (0.5-20 µM) and bisphenol A (0.4-200 µM) on human Sertoli cell function. Cultured Sertoli cells from three men were used in this study, which spanned an 18-month period.
Human Sertoli cells from three subjects were cultured in F12/DMEM containing 5% fetal bovine serum. Changes in protein expression were monitored by immunoblotting using specific antibodies. Immunofluorescence analyses were used to assess changes in the distribution of adhesion proteins, F-actin and actin regulatory proteins following exposure to two toxicants: cadmium chloride and bisphenol A (BPA).
Human Sertoli cells were sensitive to cadmium and BPA toxicity. Changes in the localization of cell adhesion proteins were mediated by an alteration of the actin-based cytoskeleton. This alteration of F-actin network in Sertoli cells as manifested by truncation and depolymerization of actin microfilaments at the Sertoli cell BTB was caused by mislocalization of actin filament barbed end capping and bundling protein Eps8, and branched actin polymerization protein Arp3. Besides impeding actin dynamics, endocytic vesicle-mediated trafficking and the proper localization of actin regulatory proteins c-Src and annexin II in Sertoli cells were also affected. Results of statistical analysis demonstrate that these findings were not obtained by chance.
(i) This study was done in vitro and might not extrapolate to the in vivo state, (ii) conclusions are based on the use of Sertoli cell samples from three men and (iii) it is uncertain if the concentrations of toxicants used in the experiments are reached in vivo.
Human Sertoli cells cultured in vitro provide a robust model to monitor environmental toxicant-mediated disruption of Sertoli cell BTB function and to study the mechanism(s) of toxicant-induced testicular dysfunction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For non-hormonal male contraceptives that exert their effects in the testis locally instead of via the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis, such as adjudin that disrupts germ cell adhesion, a major hurdle in their development is to improve their bioavailability so that they can be efficiently delivered to the seminiferous epithelium by transporting across the blood-testis barrier (BTB). If this can be done, it would widen the gap between their efficacy and general toxicity. However, Sertoli cells that constitute the BTB, peritubular myoid cells in the tunica propria, germ cells at different stages of their development, as well as endothelial cells that constitute the microvessels in the interstitium are all equipped with multiple drug transporters, most notably efflux drug transporters, such as P-glycoprotein, multidrug resistance-related protein 1 (MRP1) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) that can actively prevent drugs (e.g., adjudin) from entering the seminiferous epithelium to exert their effects. Recent studies have shown that BCRP is highly expressed by endothelial cells of the microvessels in the interstitium in the testis and also peritubular myoid cells in tunica propria even though it is absent from Sertoli cells at the site of the BTB. Furthermore, BCRP is also expressed spatiotemporally by Sertoli cells and step 19 spermatids in the rat testis and stage-specifically, limiting to stage VII‒VIII of the epithelial cycle, and restricted to the apical ectoplasmic specialization [apical ES, a testis-specific F-actin-rich adherens junction (AJ)]. Interestingly, adjudin was recently shown to be capable of downregulating BCRP expression at the apical ES. In this Opinion article, we critically discuss the latest findings on BCRP; in particular, we provide some findings utilizing molecular modeling to define the interacting domains of BCRP with adjudin. Based on this information, it is hoped that the next generation of adjudin analogs to be synthesized can improve their efficacy in downregulating BCRP and perhaps other drug efflux transporters in the testis to improve their efficacy to traverse the BTB by modifying their interacting domains.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adjudin, also known as AF-2364 and an analogue of lonidamine (LND), is a male contraceptive acting through the induction of premature sperm depletion from the seminiferous epithelium when orally administered to adult rats, rabbits or dogs. It is also known that LND can target mitochondria and block energy metabolism in tumor cells. However, whether Adjudin exhibits any anti-cancer activity remains to be elucidated. Herein we described the anti-proliferative activity of Adjudin on cancer cells in vitro and on lung and prostate tumors inoculated in nude mice. We found that Adjudin induced apoptosis in cancer cells through a Caspase-3-dependent pathway. Further experiments revealed that Adjudin could trigger mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer cells, apparently affecting the mitochondrial mass, inducing the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and reducing cellular ATP levels. Intraperitoneal administration of Adjudin to tumor-bearing athymic nude mice also significantly suppressed the lung and prostate tumor growth. When used in combination with cisplatin, Adjudin enhances the sensitivity to cisplatin-induced cancer cell cytotoxicity. Taken together, these findings have demonstrated that Adjudin may be a potential drug for cancer therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular events that occur across the seminiferous epithelium in the mammalian testis during spermatogenesis are tightly coordinated by biologically active peptides released from laminin chains. Laminin-γ3 domain IV is released at the apical ectoplasmic specialization during spermiation and mediates restructuring of the blood-testis barrier, which facilitates the transit of preleptotene spermatocytes. Here we determine the biologically active domain in laminin-γ3 domain IV, which we designate F5 peptide, and show that the overexpression of this domain, or the use of a synthetic F5 peptide, in Sertoli cells with an established functional blood-testis barrier reversibly perturbs blood-testis barrier integrity in vitro and in the rat testis in vivo. This effect is mediated via changes in protein distribution at the Sertoli and Sertoli-germ-cell cell interface and by phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase at Tyr(407). The consequences are perturbed organization of actin filaments in Sertoli cells, disruption of the blood-testis barrier and spermatid loss. The impairment of spermatogenesis suggests that this laminin peptide fragment may serve as a contraceptive in male rats.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroinflammation caused by microglial activation plays a key role in ischemia, neurodegeneration and many other CNS diseases. In this study, we found that Adjudin, a potential non-hormonal male contraceptive, exhibits additional function to reduce the production of proinflammatory mediators. Adjudin significantly inhibited LPS-induced IL-6 release and IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-α expression in BV2 microglial cells. Furthermore, Adjudin exhibited anti-inflammatory properties by suppression of NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation and DNA binding activity as well as ERK MAPK phosphorylation. To determine the in vivo effect of Adjudin, we used a permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) mouse model and found that Adjudin could reduce ischemia-induced CD11b expression, a marker of microglial activation. Furthermore, Adjudin treatment attenuated brain edema and neurological deficits after ischemia but did not reduce infarct volume. Thus, our data suggest that Adjudin may be useful for mitigating neuroinflammation.
Journal of neuroimmunology 10/2012; · 2.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During spermatogenesis, preleptotene spermatocytes residing near the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubule must traverse the blood-testis barrier (BTB) at stage VIII-IX of the epithelial cycle to continue their development in the adluminal compartment. Unlike other blood-tissue barriers (e.g. the blood-brain barrier) that are created by the endothelial tight junction (TJ) barrier of capillaries, the BTB is created by specialized junctions between Sertoli cells in which TJ coexists with basal ectoplasmic specialization (basal ES, a testis-specific adherens junction). The basal ES is typified by the presence of tightly packed actin filament bundles sandwiched between cisternae of endoplasmic reticulum and the apposing plasma membranes of Sertoli cells. These actin filament bundles also confer unusual adhesive strength to the BTB. Yet the mechanisms by which these filamentous actin (F-actin) networks are regulated from the bundled to the debundled state to facilitate the transit of spermatocytes remain elusive. Herein, we provide evidence that ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6), the downstream signaling molecule of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway, is a major regulator of F-actin organization and adhesion protein recruitment at the BTB. rpS6 is restrictively and spatiotemporally activated at the BTB during the epithelial cycle. An activation of rpS6 led to a disruption of the Sertoli cell TJ barrier and BTB integrity. Its silencing in vitro or in vivo by using small interfering RNA duplexes or short hairpin RNA was found to promote the Sertoli cell TJ permeability barrier by the recruitment of adhesion proteins (e.g. claudin-11 and occludin) to the BTB. Thus, rpS6 in the mTORC1 pathway regulates BTB restructuring via its effects on the F-actin organization and protein recruitment at the BTB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The blood-testis barrier (BTB) is one of the tightest blood-tissue barriers in mammals including rodents and humans. It is used to sequester meiosis I and II, postmeiotic spermatid development via spermiogenesis and the release of sperm at spermiation from the systemic circulation, such that these events take place in an immune-privileged site in the adluminal (apical) compartment behind the BTB, segregated from the host immune system. Additionally, drug transporters, namely efflux (e.g., P-glycoprotein) and influx (e.g., Oatp3) pumps, many of which are integral membrane proteins in Sertoli cells at the BTB also work cooperatively to restrict the entry of drugs, toxicants, chemicals, steroids and other xenobiotics into the adluminal compartment. As such, the BTB that serves as an important physiological and selective barrier to protect germ cell development also poses a "hurdle" in male contraceptive development. For instance, adjudin, 1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide, a potential nonhormonal male contraceptive that exerts its effects on germ cell adhesion, most notably at the Sertoli cell-spermatid interface, to induce "premature" germ cell loss from the seminiferous epithelium mimicking spermiation, has a relatively poor bioavailability largely because of the BTB. Since male contraceptives (e.g., adjudin) will be used by healthy men for an extended period of his life span after puberty, a better understanding on the BTB is necessary in order to effectively deliver drugs across this blood-tissue barrier in particular if these compounds exert their effects on developing germ cells in the adluminal compartment. This can also reduce long-term toxicity and health risk if the effective dosing can be lowered in order to widen the margin between its safety and efficacy. Herein, we summarize latest findings in this area of research, we also provide a critical evaluation on research areas that deserve attention in future studies.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2012; 763:318-33. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The blood-testis barrier (BTB), similar to other blood-tissue barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retinal barrier, is used to protect the corresponding organ from harmful substances (e.g., xenobiotics) including drugs and foreign compounds. More importantly, the BTB allows postmeiotic spermatid development to take place in an immune privileged site at the adluminal (or apical) compartment to avoid the production of antibodies against spermatid-specific antigens, many of which express transiently during spermiogenesis and spermiation. The BTB, however, also poses an obstacle in developing nonhormonal-based male contraceptives by sequestering drugs (e.g., adjudin) that exert their effects on germ cells in the adluminal compartment. The effects of these drugs include disruption of germ cell cycle progression and development, apoptosis, cell adhesion, metabolism and others. Recent studies have demonstrated that there is a functional axis that operates locally in the seminiferous epithelium to co-ordinate different cellular events across the Sertoli cell epithelium, such as spermiation and BTB restructuring during the seminiferous epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis. Components of this functional axis, such as the apical ectoplasmic specialization (apical ES, a testis-specific atypical anchoring junction type) and the BTB, in particular their constituent protein complexes, such as alpha6beta1-integrin and occludin at the apical ES and the BTB, respectively, can be the target of male contraception. In this chapter, we highlight recent advances regarding the likely mechanism of action of adjudin in this functional axis with emphasis on the use of molecular modeling technique to facilitate the design of better compounds in male contraceptive development.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2012; 763:334-55. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adjudin, 1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide (formerly called AF-2364), is a potent analog of lonidamine [1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxylic acid] known to disrupt germ cell adhesion, most notably elongating and elongated spermatids, in the seminiferous epithelium of adult rat testes and thus, leads to infertility in rats. Since the population of spermatogonia and spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) in the seminiferous tubules is not significantly reduced by the treatment of rats with adjudin, adjudin-induced infertility is highly reversible, which enables reinitiation of spermatogenesis and germ cell re-population of the voided seminiferous epithelium. Furthermore, adjudin appears to exert its effects at the testis-specific atypical adherens junction (AJ) type known as ectoplasmic specialization (ES), most notably the apical ES at the Sertoli cell-spermatid interface. Thus, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is not unaffected and systemic side-effects are minimal. This also makes adjudin a potential candidate for male contraceptive development. Herein, we critically evaluate recent findings in the field and provide an updated model regarding the mechanism underlying adjudin-induced apical ES disruption. In short, adjudin targets actin filament bundles at the apical ES, the hallmark ultrastructure of this testis-specific junction type not found in any other epithelia/endothelia in mammals, by suppressing the expression of Eps8 (epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8), an actin capping protein that also plays a role in actin bundling, so that actin filament bundles can no longer be maintained at the apical ES. This is concomitant with a mis-localization of Arp3 (actin-related protein 3, a component of the Arp2/3 complex that induces actin nucleation/branching) recruited by drebrin E, causing "unwanted" actin branching, further destabilizing actin filament bundles at the apical ES. Additionally, adjudin blocks the expression of PAR6 (partitioning defective protein 6) and 14-3-3 (also known as PAR5) considerably at the apical ES, disrupting the homeostasis of endocytic vesicle-mediated protein trafficking, which in turn leads to an increase in protein endocytosis. The net result of these changes destabilizes cell adhesion and induces degeneration of the apical ES, causing premature release of spermatids, mimicking spermiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Environmental toxicants, such as cadmium and bisphenol A (BPA) are endocrine disruptors. In utero, perinatal or neonatal exposure of BPA to rats affect the male reproductive function, such as the blood-testis barrier (BTB) integrity. This effect of BPA on BTB integrity in immature rats is likely mediated via a loss of gap junction function at the BTB, failing to coordinate tight junction and anchoring junction function at the site to maintain the immunological barrier integrity. This in turn activates the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (Erk1/2) downstream and an increase in protein endocytosis, destabilizing the BTB. The cadmium-induced disruption of testicular dysfunction is mediated initially via its effects on the occludin/ZO-1/focal adhesion kinase (FAK) complex at the BTB, causing redistribution of proteins at the Sertoli-Sertoli cell interface, leading to the BTB disruption. The damaging effects of these toxicants to testicular function are mediated by mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) downstream, which in turn perturbs the actin bundling and accelerates the actin-branching activity, causing disruption of the Sertoli cell tight junction (TJ)-barrier function at the BTB and perturbing spermatid adhesion at the apical ectoplasmic specialization (apical ES, a testis-specific anchoring junction type) that leads to premature release of germ cells from the testis. However, the use of specific inhibitors against MAPK was shown to block or delay the cadmium-induced testicular injury, such as BTB disruption and germ cell loss. These findings suggest that there may be a common downstream p38 and/or Erk1/2 MAPK-based signaling pathway involving polarity proteins and actin regulators that is shared between different toxicants that induce male reproductive dysfunction. As such, the use of inhibitors and/or antagonists against specific MAPKs can possibly be used to "manage" the illnesses caused by these toxicants and/or "protect" industrial workers being exposed to high levels of these toxicants in their work environment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The actin-based cytoskeleton plays a critical role in the seminiferous epithelium during spermatogenesis by conferring cell shape, adhesion, structural support and cell polarity to both Sertoli and developing germ cells, which are essential for spermatogonial stem cell renewal, maintenance of the stem cell niche, cell cycle progression, mitosis, meiosis, spermiogenesis and spermiation. However, few functional studies are found in the literature, which explore the functional significance of actin dynamics in these events. This by and large is due to a lack of information on the proteins that regulate actin dynamics. Herein, we report drebrin E is an integrated component of the apical ectoplasmic specialization (apical ES) and the basal ES at the blood-testis barrier (BTB) in the seminiferous epithelium of the adult rat testis. Using immunohistochemistry and dual-labeled immunofluorescence analysis, drebrin E was found to display a stage-specific localization at the apical ES, as well as at the basal ES at the BTB during the seminiferous epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis. Drebrin E was first detected in stage V tubules at the basal ES with the highest expression at the BTB at stages V and VI, but it diminished considerably by stages VII and VIII and was almost non-detectable until stage IV. At the apical ES, drebrin E was also first detected at stage V, surrounding the entire head of the elongating spermatid, but by stage VI its localization had "shifted" to localize most intensely and almost exclusively to the concave side of the spermatid head. In stage VII tubules, drebrin E co-localized with actin, as well as with two other actin regulatory proteins Eps8 (epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8, an actin capping and bundling protein) and Arp3 (actin-related protein 3, a component of the Arp2/3 complex known to regulate actin nucleation and branching). The localization of drebrin E at the apical ES was compromised following treatment of rats with adjudin, which is known to exert its destructive effects primarily at the apical ES by inducing premature loss of elongating/elongated spermatids from the epithelium, mimicking "spermiation." Instead of being restricted to the concave side of spermatid heads, drebrin E was found to be mis-localized in the seminiferous epithelium of adjudin-treated rats; it was also present on the convex side of elongating spermatids, but these cells were mis-oriented so that their heads no longer pointed toward the basement membrane. The expression of drebrin E by Sertoli cells was also found to be modulated by TGFβ3 and TNFα. Since Arp3, but not Eps8, was found to bind drebrin E; and cytokines were also shown to affect the cellular distribution of drebrin E and enhance the interaction between drebrin E and Arp3, these findings illustrate that cytokines may regulate BTB dynamics during the epithelial cycle by recruiting drebrin E and Arp3 to the BTB microenvironment to induce changes in the configuration of actin filament bundles at the basal ES. In summary, these findings illustrate drebrin E is working in concert with Arp3 to regulate actin filament bundles at both the apical and the basal ES in the testis, conferring adhesion and cell polarity at both sites during spermatogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The blood-testis barrier (BTB) is a unique ultrastructure in the mammalian testis. Unlike other blood-tissue barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier and the blood-ocular (or blood-retina) barrier which formed by tight junctions (TJ) between endothelial cells of the microvessels, the BTB is constituted by coexisting TJ, basal ectoplasmic specialization (basal ES), desmosomes and gap junctions between adjacent Sertoli cells near the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubule. The BTB also divides the seminiferous epithelium into the apical (or adluminal) and basal compartments so that meiosis I and II and post-meiotic germ cell development can all take place in a specialized microenvironment in the apical compartment behind the BTB. While the unusual anatomical features of the BTB have been known for decades, the physiological function of the coexisting junctions, in particular the desmosome and gap junction, that constitute the BTB was unknown until recently. Based on recently published findings, we critically evaluate the role of the desmosome and gap junction that serve as a signaling platform to coordinate the "opening" and "closing" of the TJ-permeability barrier conferred by TJ and basal ES during the seminiferous epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis. This is made possible by polarity proteins working in concert with nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinases, such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and c-Src, at the site to regulate endosome-mediated protein trafficking events (e.g., endocytosis, transcytosis, recycling or protein degradation). These events not only serve to destabilize the existing "old" BTB above preleptotene spermatocytes in transit in "clones" at the BTB, but also contribute to the assembly of "new" BTB below the transiting spermatocytes. Furthermore, hemidesmosomes at the Sertoli cell-basement membrane interface also contribute to the BTB restructuring events at stage VIII of the epithelial cycle. Additionally, the findings that a gap junction at the BTB provides a possible route for the passage of toxicants [e.g., bisphenol A (BPA)] and potential male contraceptives (e.g., adjudin) across the BTB also illustrate that these coexisting junctions, while helpful to maintain the immunological barrier integrity during the transit of spermatocytes, can be the "gateway" to making the BTB so vulnerable to toxicants and/or chemicals, causing male reproductive dysfunction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adjudin (1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide; formerly called AF-2364) has been shown to inhibit spermatogenesis by disrupting anchoring junctions at the Sertoligerm cell interface. This, in turn, leads to germ cell loss from the seminiferous epithelium, and transient infertility. Adjudin's efficacyin inhibiting spermatogenesis, the recovery of spermatogenesis after cessation of the drug, and side effects were examined in adult male Japanese rabbits. The pharmacokinetics profiles of adjudin in rabbits after oral administration and after intravenous injection were compared. Rabbits received 25 mg/kg adjudin once weekly for 4 consecutive weeks either by intravenous injection or by gavage. Vehicle-treated rabbits were used as controls. At 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 weeks after treatment, testes were removed for microscopic examination to assess the status of spermatogenesis. Four weeks after intravenous cessation of adjudin, the recovery of spermatogenesis also was monitored. Blood was withdrawn after first administration to measure plasma concentrations of adjudin by high-performance liquid chromatography. Four weeks after intravenous treatment, examination of testis sections showed rapid exfoliation of elongated/elongating spermatids and the presence of large multinucleated cells; more than 95% of germ cells were absent from the seminiferous epithelium. Intravenous treatment showed a more severe disturbance of spermatogenesis compared with gavage treatment, which was correlated with bioavailability of the drug. The areas under the curve for intravenous injection and gavage were 20.11 +/- 1.90 and 2.23 +/- 0.45 mg x h x L(-1), respectively. These results illustrate the potential of adjudin as a male contraceptive, and the efficacy is associated with the bioavailability of the drug.
Journal of Andrology 10/2008; 30(1):87-93. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In multicellular organisms, cell-cell interactions are mediated in part by cell junctions, which underlie tissue architecture. Throughout spermatogenesis, for instance, preleptotene leptotene spermatocytes residing in the basal compartment of the seminiferous epithelium must traverse the blood-testis barrier to enter the adluminal compartment for continued development. At the same time, germ cells must also remain attached to Sertoli cells, and numerous studies have reported extensive restructuring at the Sertoli-Sertoli and Sertoli-germ cell interface during germ cell movement across the seminiferous epithelium. Furthermore, the proteins and signaling cascades that regulate adhesion between testicular cells have been largely delineated. These findings have unveiled a number of potential "druggable" targets that can be used to induce premature release of germ cells from the seminiferous epithelium, resulting in transient infertility. Herein, we discuss a novel approach with the aim of developing a nonhormonal male contraceptive for future human use, one that involves perturbing adhesion between Sertoli and germ cells in the testis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A strong increase of the affinity for concanavalin A (Con A) of serum alpha2-macroglobulin, a non-acute-phase protein, was observed by lectin blotting in patients with Sjogren's syndrome (SS). On the contrary, the total Con A reactivity of serum proteins, measured by enzyme-linked lectin assay, was not augmented in SS, compared with normal donors, probably because positive changes of certain proteins were balanced by negative changes of others, as suggested by lectin blotting analysis. However, a significant increase of total Con A reactivity occurred in subjects with increased serum concentrations of soluble interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, compared with patients with normal concentrations of this marker of disease activity. On the other hand, the same parameter did not appear to be different in patients with normal or increased serum concentrations of IL-6, indicating that this cytokine was not probably responsible for the changes of glycosylation described here.
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 01/2008; 48(4):385 - 390. · 2.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the seminiferous epithelium, germ cell development behind the blood-testis barrier involves continual degradation and renewal of inter-testicular cell junctions. This allows: (i) the translocation of developing germ cells from the basal lamina to the adluminal compartment during spermatogenesis, and (ii) the eventual release of mature spermatids into the tubular lumen during spermiation. Throughout spermatogenesis, cellular debris must also be removed from the epithelium. Thus, it is conceivable that proteases, protease inhibitors, and cell junctional components are involved in these events. The present study sought to examine whether testicular cells can express multiple cathepsin mRNAs given that these proteases are involved in the degradation and processing of proteins as well as in tissue regeneration. By using total RNA isolated from primary cultures of Sertoli, Leydig, and germ cells for reverse-transcription and polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the mRNAs of cathepsin B, C, D, H, L, and S were shown to be expressed by Sertoli and Leydig cells, whereas germ cells isolated from adult rats expressed all of the above cathepsin mRNAs except cathepsin D. Throughout postnatal development and maturation, the testicular steady-state mRNA levels of cathepsin B, C, D, L, and S remain relatively unchanged with the exception of cathepsin H whose mRNA level increased during maturation and peaked at 45-60 days of age. Using lonidamine, an anti-spermatogenic drug which is known to induce premature release of germ cells without affecting Leydig cell function by disrupting the inter-Sertoli-germ cell junctions, we have examined the differential expression of these cathepsin mRNAs in the testis at the time of extensive tissue restructuring. It was noted that the expression of cathepsin L and S in the testis increased significantly concomitant with the disappearance of elongate spermatids whereas the expression of cathepsin B, C, D, and H increased significantly when most of the round spermatids and spermatocytes were depleted. These results illustrate the intricate inter-relationship between these proteases in the testis during maturation and tissue restructuring.
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 01/2008; 42(2):217 - 233. · 2.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Throughout spermatogenesis, developing germ cells remain attached to Sertoli cells via testis-specific anchoring junctions. If adhesion between these cell types is compromised, germ cells detach from the seminiferous epithelium and infertility often results. Previously, we reported that Adjudin is capable of inducing germ cell loss from the epithelium. In a small subset of animals, however, oral administration of Adjudin (50 mg per kg body weight (b.w.) for 29 d) resulted in adverse effects such as liver inflammation and muscle atrophy. Here, we report a novel approach in which Adjudin is specifically targeted to the testis by conjugating Adjudin to a recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) mutant, which serves as its 'carrier'. Using this approach, infertility was induced in adult rats when 0.5 microg Adjudin per kg b.w. was administered intraperitoneally, which was similar to results when 50 mg per kg b.w. was given orally. This represents a substantial increase in Adjudin's selectivity and efficacy as a male contraceptive.
Nature Medicine 12/2006; 12(11):1323-8. · 22.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Earlier studies have shown that 1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide (AF-2364) is a potential male contraceptive when administered orally to adult Sprague-Dawley rats. This compound induces reversible germ cell loss from the seminiferous epithelium by disrupting cell adhesion function between Sertoli and germ cells, in particular, elongating/elongate/round spermatids and spermatocytes but not spermatogonia. Thus, this event is accompanied by a transient loss of fertility in treated rats. Once the drug is metabolically cleared, the remaining spermatogonia can begin repopulating the epithelium, and fertility bounces back. In this review, we summarize recent findings regarding the possible use of this drug for male contraception and its mechanism of action in the rat testis. We also provide an update on the efficacy results of using different treatment regimens in adult rats where AF-2364 was administered by gavage vs. intraperitoneal and intramuscular administration. These results have clearly indicated that AF-2364 is indeed a reversible male contraceptive. Furthermore, the tissue distribution in multiple organs and biological fluids using [3H]-AF-2364 is also reviewed. These data have clearly illustrated the low bioavailability of AF-2364 in rats and that this compound is not specifically taken up by any organs including the testis or the epididymis. These summaries are helpful to investigators in the field who seek to understand the molecular mechanism of action of AF-2364 in the rat testis and to explore its possible use for male contraception.