Expression of oestrogen receptor beta (ER beta) occurs in multiple cell types, including some germ cells, in the rat testis

P T Saunders, J S Fisher, R M Sharpe, M R Millar

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Abstract / Description of output

The identification of a second oestrogen receptor (beta) has prompted a re-evaluation of the potential sites of action of oestrogens. The aim of the present study was to characterize immunoexpression of ER beta expression in the testis to complement earlier data which had demonstrated that expression of ER alpha is confined to testicular interstitial Leydig cells. In all testes studied, including those from both fetal (day 20.5 p.c.) and adult rats, ER beta was found to be expressed in multiple cell types. Sertoli cell nuclei were immunopositive at all ages. In adult testes expression in Sertoli cells was not stage dependent and was unaffected by ablation of Leydig cells. In fetal testes ER beta was also expressed in peritubular cells, fetal Leydig cells and gonocytes. In the pubertal and adult testis ER beta was detected in the nuclei of spermatogonia and most pachytene spermatocytes. Weak immunopositive staining was present in the cytoplasm of spermatocytes undergoing the second meiotic division. In conclusion the widespread expression of ER beta in the testis is consistent with a role for oestrogens in modulating spermatogenesis, and hence fertility, in the male.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R13-7
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Volume156
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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