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Expression Of Galectin-3 And Its Regulation In The Testes.

C. Deschildre, J. Ji, S. Chater, F. Dacheux, J. Selva, M. Albert, M. Bailly, F. Hatey, M. Benahmed
Published 2007 · Biology, Medicine

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Although spermatogenesis is a complex process under hormonal control, which includes mainly follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and androgens, little is known about the intra-testicular mediators of these hormones. In the present study, galectin-3 (Gal-3) expression has been identified in human, rat and porcine testes where it is under hormonal control. Gal-3 is present in Sertoli cells and appears to be absent in human and (probably) in rat germ cells. Gal-3 expression was evidenced in the testes, in terms of both mRNA and protein (31 kDa). Gal-3 expression in cultured porcine Sertoli cells was shown to be under the positive control of FSH as well as of two cytokines epidermal growth factor (EGF) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Gal-3 expression in Sertoli cells is also potentially under the control of mature germ cells as an increased expression was observed in adult rat testes depleted in spermatocytes or spermatids. Although the function of testicular Gal-3 remains to be investigated, a potential role of Gal-3 in germ cell survival/regeneration is suggested based on its increased expression 1 month after a transient germ cell death process triggered by 10 days of treatment with the antiandrogen flutamide. Finally, although in the normal human testes, Gal-3 is exclusively located in the Sertoli cell cytoplasm, a nuclear localization is observed in the infertile testes. Together, the present findings have shown that (i) Gal-3 is expressed in the porcine, rat and human Sertoli cells; (ii) Gal-3 is under the positive control of FSH as well as of EGF and TNF-alpha and possibly of adult germ cells. These observations are compatible with a potential pro-survival role of Gal-3 in the testes.
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