Expression of steroidogenic enzymes during equine testicular development

J. Almeida, Alan J Conley, L. Mathewson, B. A. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the mammalian testis, Leydig cells are primarily responsible for steroidogenesis. In adult stallions, the major endocrine products of Leydig cells include testosterone and estrogens. 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/Δ54-isomerase (3βHSD) and 17α-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase (P450c17) are two key steroidogenic enzymes that regulate testosterone synthesis. Androgens produced by P450c17 serve as substrate for estrogen synthesis. The aim of this study was to investigate localization of the steroidogenic enzymes P450c17, 3βHSD, and P450arom and to determine changes in expression during development in the prepubertal, postpubertal, and adult equine testis based upon immunohistochemistry (IHC) and real-time quantitative PCR. Based on IHC, 3βHSD immunolabeling was observed within seminiferous tubules of prepubertal testes and decreased after puberty. On the other hand, immunolabeling of 3βHSD was very weak or absent in immature Leydig cells of prepubertal testes and increased after puberty. HSD3B1 (3βHSD gene) mRNA expression was higher in adult testes compared with prepubertal (P=0.0001) and postpubertal testes (P=0.0041). P450c17 immunolabeling was observed in small clusters of immature Leydig cells in prepubertal testes and increased after puberty. CYP17 (P450c17 gene) mRNA expression was higher in adult testes compared with prepubertal (P=0.030) and postpubertal testes (P=0.0318). A weak P450arom immunolabel was observed in immature Leydig cells of prepubertal testes and increased after puberty. Similarly, CYP19 (P450arom gene) mRNA expression was higher in adult testes compared with prepubertal (P=0.0001) and postpubertal (P=0.0001) testes. In conclusion, Leydig cells are the primary cell type responsible for androgen and estrogen production in the equine testis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
JournalReproduction
Volume141
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology

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