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Localization of the Cytochrome P450 Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme in the Inactive Testis of the Naked Mole-Rat

Zoological Society of Japan
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract Spermatogenesis was histologically examined in non-breeding male of the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) using a light microscopy. Spermatogonia, spermatocytes and spermatids were confirmed in the seminiferous tubules. However, the spermatogenesis was disordered, and many spermatocytes and spermatids were sloughing. Sperms could not be seen in the lumen of the tubules. The characteristic accumulation of interstitial cells was the most noteworthy. In the immunohistochemistry for cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme, immunoreactions were not entirely distributed in each interstitial cell, although positive reactions were scattered in the interstitial cell-mass. The findings indicate that few interstitial cells act as a testosterone-synthesizing apparatus in the characteristic structure with accumulated cell-mass. From the immunohistochemical data we suggest the possibility that spermatogonia and Sertoli cells may secrete 17β-estradiol. We also suggest that 17β-estradiol from spermatogonia and Sertoli cells may inhibit the interstitial cells from synthesizing and secreting testosterone and may suppress the later stages of the spermatogenesis to induce apoptosis of germ cells. The TUNEL methods demonstrated that cell death occurred in some spermatocytes in non-breeding males.

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