Changes in testicular gene expression following reduced estradiol synthesis: A complex pathway to increased porcine Sertoli cell proliferation

Trish Berger, Simin Tang, Lien Tu, Delia Alba Soto, Alan J. Conley, Barbara Nitta-Oda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Porcine Sertoli cell number including number present at puberty is increased if testicular estradiol synthesis is reduced during the neonatal interval. Evaluating the changes in gene expression during the crucial interval of suppressed estradiol that leads to the increased Sertoli cell population will increase our understanding of Sertoli cell biology but this evaluation first required a more precise determination of the critical interval for treatment and timing of a detectable response. Previously, reduced testicular estrogens from 1 week of age were accompanied by increased Sertoli cell number at 6.5 weeks of age but the age at which Sertoli cell numbers were initially increased was unknown, one of the current objectives. Additional experiments were designed to further delineate the essential timing of treatment for the Sertoli cell response. Finally, changes in gene expression induced by the reduced estradiol synthesis were evaluated to elucidate molecular mechanisms. Experimental design typically consisted of one member of littermate pairs of boars treated with the aromatase inhibitor, letrozole, beginning at 1 week of age and the remaining member treated with canola oil vehicle. Weekly treatments continued through 5 weeks of age or tissue collection, whichever came first. Increases in Sertoli cell numbers were not detectable prior to 6.5 weeks of age and persistent treatment through 5 weeks of age was required to induce the increase in Sertoli cell numbers. This increase resulted from prolonging the first interval of Sertoli cell proliferation in the treated animals. Few genes exhibited dramatically altered transcription and similarities in pathway analysis or principal modified genes were quite limited in 2, 3, and 5-week-old boars. The critical timing and prolonged treatment required and the sequential changes in gene expression suggest a complex mechanism is involved in this model of increased proliferation of Sertoli cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111099
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Boar
  • Endogenous estradiol
  • Sertoli cell proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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