B Silvestrini

Renji Hospital, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China

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Publications (224)491.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The blood-testis barrier (BTB) is one of the tightest blood-tissue barriers in the mammalian body. It divides the seminiferous epithelium of the testis, where spermatogenesis takes place, into the basal and the adluminal (apical) compartments. Functionally, the BTB provides a unique microenvironment for meiosis I/II and post-meiotic spermatid development which take place exclusively in the apical compartment, away from the host immune system, and it contributes to the testis its immune privilege status. However, the BTB also poses major obstacles in developing male contraceptives (e.g., adjudin) that exert their effects to germ cells in the apical compartment, such as by disrupting spermatid adhesion to the Sertoli cell, causing germ cell exfoliation from the testis. Besides of the tight junction (TJ) between adjacent Sertoli cells at the BTB that restricts the entry of contraceptives from the microvessels in the interstitium to the adluminal compartment, drug transporters, such as P-glycoprotein and multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1), are also present that actively pump drugs out of the testis, limiting drug bioavailability. Recent advances in drug formulations, such as drug particle micronization (<50 µm) and co-grinding of drug particles with ß-cyclodextrin have improved bioavailability of contraceptives via significant increase in solubility. Herein, we will discuss development in drug formulations using adjudin as an example. We'll also put some emphasis on the possible use of nanotechnology to deliver adjudin to the apical compartment with multidrug magnetic mesoporous silica nanoparticles. These advances in technology will significantly enhance our ability to develop effective non-hormonal male contraceptives.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Current Medicinal Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Earlier studies have shown that rats treated with an acute dose of 1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide (adjudin, a male contraceptive under development) causes permanent infertility due to irreversible blood-testis barrier (BTB) disruption even though the population of undifferentiated spermatogonia remains similar to normal rat testes, because spermatogonia fail to differentiate into spermatocytes to enter meiosis. Since other studies have illustrated the significance of connexin 43 (Cx43)-based gap junction in maintaining the homeostasis of BTB in the rat testis and the phenotypes of Sertoli cell-conditional Cx43 knockout mice share many of the similarities of the adjudin-treated rats, we sought to examine if overexpression of Cx43 in these adjudin-treated rats would reseal the disrupted BTB and reinitiate spermatogenesis. A full-length Cx43 cloned into mammalian expression vector pCI-neo was used to transfect testes of adjudin-treated rats versus empty vector. It was found that overexpression of Cx43 indeed resealed the Sertoli cell tight junction-permeability barrier based on a functional in vivo assay in tubules displaying signs of meiosis as noted by the presence of round spermatids. Thus, these findings suggest that overexpression of Cx43 reinitiated spermatogenesis at least through the steps of meiosis to generate round spermatids in testes of rats treated with an acute dose of adjudin that led to aspermatogenesis. It was also noted that the round spermatids underwent eventual degeneration with the formation of multinucleated cells following Cx43 overexpression due to the failure of spermiogenesis because no elongating/elongated spermatids were detected in any of the tubules examined. The mechanism by which overexpression of Cx43 reboots meiosis and rescues BTB function was also examined. In summary, overexpression of Cx43 in the testis with aspermatogenesis reboots meiosis and reseals toxicant-induced BTB disruption, even though it fails to support round spermatids to enter spermiogenesis.-Li, N., Mruk, D. D., Mok, K.-W., Li, M. W. M., Wong, C. K. C., Lee, W. M., Han, D., Silvestrini, B., Cheng, C. Y. Connexin 43 reboots meiosis and reseals blood-testis barrier following toxicant-mediated aspermatogenesis and barrier disruption.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The FASEB Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Adjudin has been explored as a male contraceptive for the last 15 years since its initial synthesis in the late 1990s. More than 50 papers have been published and listed in PubMed in which its mechanism that induces exfoliation of germ cells from the seminiferous epithelium, such as its effects on actin microfilaments at the apical ES (ectoplasmic specialization, a testis-specific actin-rich anchoring junction), has been delineated. Objective: Recent studies have demonstrated that, besides its activity to induce germ cell exfoliation from the seminiferous epithelium to cause reversible infertility in male rodents, adjudin possesses other biological activities, which include anti-cancer, anti-inflammation in the brain, and anti-ototoxicity induced by gentamicin in rodents. Results of these findings likely spark the interest of investigators to explore other medical use of this and other indazole-based compounds, possibly mediated by the signaling pathway(s) in the mitochondria of mammalian cells following treatment with adjudin. In this review, we carefully evaluate these recent findings. Methods: Papers published and listed at www.pubmed.org and patents pertinent to adjudin and its related compounds were searched. Findings were reviewed and critically evaluated and reviewed, and summarized herein. Results: Adjudin is a novel compound that possesses the anti-spermatogenetic activity. Furthermore, it possesses anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-neurodegeneration, and anti-ototoxicity activities based on studies using different in vitro and in vivo models. Conclusion: Studies on adjudin should be expanded to better understand its biological activities so that it can become a useful drug for treatment of other ailments besides serving as a male contraceptive.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Recent Patents on Endocrine Metabolic & Immune Drug Discovery
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    ABSTRACT: Formins are a growing class of actin nucleation proteins that promote the polymerization of actin microfilaments, forming long stretches of actin microfilaments to confer actin filament bundling in mammalian cells. As such, microfilament bundles can be formed in specific cellular domains, in particular in motile mammalian cells, such as filopodia. Since ectoplasmic specialization (ES), a testis-specific adherens junction (AJ), at the Sertoli cell-cell and Sertoli-spermatid interface is constituted by arrays of actin microfilament bundles, it is likely that formins are playing a significant physiological role on the homeostasis of ES during the epithelial cycle of spermatogenesis. In this Commentary, we provide a timely discussion on formin 1 which was recently shown to be a crucial regulator of actin microfilaments at the ES in the rat testis (Li N et al. Endocrinology, 2015, in press; DOI: 10.1210/en.2015-1161, PMID:25901598). We also highlight research that is needed to unravel the functional significance of formins in spermatogenesis.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer resistant protein (BCRP, ABCG2) is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, which together with two other ABC efflux drug pumps, namely P-glycoprotein (P-gp, ABCB1) and multidrug resistance-related protein 1 (MRP1, ABCC1) is the most important multidrug resistance protein found in eukaryotic cells including cells in the testis. However, unlike P-gp and MRP1, which are components of the Sertoli cell blood-testis barrier (BTB), BCRP is not expressed at the BTB in rodents and human testes. Instead, BCRP is expressed by peritubular myoid cells and endothelial cells of the lymphatic vessel in the tunica propria, residing outside the BTB. As such, the testis is equipped with two levels of defense against xenobiotics or drugs, preventing these entities to enter the adluminal compartment to perturb meiosis and post-meiotic spermatid development: one at the level of the BTB conferred by P-gp and MRP1 and one at the tunica propria conferred by BCRP. The presence of drug transporters at the tunica propria as well as at the Sertoli cell BTB thus poses significant obstacles in developing non-hormonal contraceptives if these drugs (e.g., adjudin) exert their effects in germ cells behind the BTB, such as in the adluminal (apical) compartment of the seminiferous epithelium. Herein, we summarize recent findings pertinent to adjudin, a non-hormonal male contraceptive, and molecular interactions of adjudin with BCRP so that this information can be helpful to devise delivery strategies to evade BCRP in the tunica propria to improve its bioavailability in the testis.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Current molecular pharmacology
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Human Reproduction
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    ABSTRACT: A major obstacle in male contraceptive research and development is the lack of reliable and sensitive biomarkers to monitor the efficacy and potency of candidate compounds under investigation. Since the use of routine andrology techniques/analyses, such as sperm count, sperm motility, sperm morphology, sperm DNA integrity, sperm metabolism, and other semen characteristics (e.g., semen volume, pH, bacterial content) are tedious, representing the combined changes that take place in the testis and the male reproductive tract including the epididymis, rete testis, efferent ducts, prostate, and seminal vesicles. As such, the number of compounds that can be rapidly screened and tested is severely limited. Also, the outcomes are often difficult to interpret since it is not known if a compound under investigation exerts its effects mostly in the testis, the epididymis, another accessory sex organ or a combination of these organs. Herein, we summarize recent findings in the field regarding the use of nonreceptor protein kinases c-Src, c-Yes, and FAK as possible biomarkers for male contraceptive development based on our experience with adjudin, 1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbohydrazide (formerly known as AF-2364). This information should pave the way of using these, and possibly other, markers for male contraceptive research. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Chapter · Nov 2013
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Biochemical pharmacology
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    Linlin Su · Dolores D Mruk · Pearl P.Y. Lie · Bruno Silvestrini · C. Yan Cheng
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Nature Communications
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    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.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of neuroimmunology
  • Ka-Wai Mok · Dolores D Mruk · Bruno Silvestrini · C Yan Cheng
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    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.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Endocrinology
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    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.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
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    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.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
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    C Yan Cheng · Pearl Py Lie · Elissa Wp Wong · Dolores D Mruk · Bruno Silvestrini
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011
  • Yi He · Li Wen Sun · C. Y. Li · Kun Li · Bruno Silvestrini · Dolores D. Mruk · C. Yan Cheng

    No preview · Article · Jan 2010
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Journal of Andrology

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Institutions

  • 2013
    • Renji Hospital
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 1987-2012
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "Vittorio Erspamer"
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2000-2008
    • Population Council
      • Center for Biomedical Research
      New York City, New York, United States
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Physiology
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 1986-2001
    • The American University of Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1993
    • The Rockefeller University
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1979-1988
    • Istituto Regina Elena - Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri
      • S.C. Laboratorio "C" Oncogenesi Molecolare
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1982
    • University of Verona
      Verona, Veneto, Italy
  • 1975-1977
    • Albany Medical College
      Albany, New York, United States
    • Rome Research Consortium
      Roma, Latium, Italy