Gonadotropin Regulation of Retinoic Acid Activity in the Testis
Initiation of spermatogenesis in primates is triggered at puberty by an increase in gonadotropins; i.e., follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Prior to puberty, testis of the monkey contains only undifferentiated germ cells. However, sermatogonial differentiation and spermatogenesis may be initiated prior to puberty after stimulation with exogenous LH and FSH. Retinoic acid (RA) signaling is considered to be a major component that drives spermatogonial differentiation. We were interested in evaluating the relative role of LH and FSH, either alone or in combination, in regulating the retinoic acid signaling in monkey testis. Sixteen juvenile male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were infused with intermittent recombinant single chain human LH (schLH) or recombinant human FSH (rhFSH) or a combination of both for 11 days. We then analyzed the expression of the several putative RA signaling pathway related genes; i.e. RDH10, RDH11, ALDH1A1, ALDH1A2, CYP26B1, CRABP1, CRABP2, STRA6, STRA8 in the testis after 11 days of stimulation with vehicle, LH, FSH and combination LH/FSH using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). The qPCR results analysis showed that administration of gonadotropins affected a significant change in expression of some RA signaling related genes in the monkey testis. The gonadotropins, either alone or in combination dramatically increased expression of CRABP2 (p≤0.001), whereas there was a decrease in ALDH1A2 expression (p≤0.001). Moreover, combined gonadotropin treatment led to the significant decrease in CRABP1 expression (p≤0.05). These findings are the first evidence that the activity of retinoic acid signaling in the monkey testis is regulated through gonadotropins (LH/FSH) levels.
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