Development and differentiation of the interstitial and tubular compartments of fetal porcine testes

M. A. Kaminski, C. J. Corbin, Alan J Conley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Male differentiation is initiated by fetal testicular androgen synthesis, catalyzed by the enzyme 17α-hydroxylase/17,20 lyase cytochrome P450 (P450(c17)). This study was an investigation of testicular development and differentiation in porcine fetuses recovered on Days 30-42 of gestation. The expression of P450(c17) was localized in fetal gonads by in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry and related to cellular proliferation through expression of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Gonadal P450(c17) expression was quantified by Western immunoblot analysis and related to testosterone secretion by cultured explants of fetal gonads. P450(c17) transcripts were detected in the interstitium surrounding testicular cords preceding the appearance of the enzyme protein. The intensity of both P450(c17) hybridization and staining was greater in Yorkshire fetal gonads, which also exhibited more advanced tubular development. PCNA staining was prominent within tubular primordia and was higher in testes from Yorkshire than from Meishan fetuses on all days examined P450(c17) expression paralleled testosterone secretion, which decreased by Day 42, and was generally less in cultures of Meishan than of Yorkshire fetal gonads. These data demonstrate that the expression of P450(c17) in porcine fetal testes coincides with differentiation of central medullary cells and androgen secretion during gonadal development between Days 30 and 42 of gestation. This occurs as medullary cords organize and is associated with changes in cellular proliferation within the tubular compartment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Embryology


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