Regulation of testicular tight junctions by gonadotrophins in the adult Djungarian hamster in vivo

Gerard Anthony Tarulli, Sarah J Meachem, Stefan Schlatt, Peter G Stanton

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This study aimed to assess the effect of gonadotrophin suppression and FSH replacement on testicular tight junction dynamics and blood-testis barrier (BTB) organisation in vivo, utilising the seasonal breeding Djungarian hamster. Confocal immunohistology was used to assess the cellular organisation of tight junction proteins and real-time PCR to quantify tight junction mRNA. The effect of tight junction protein organisation on the BTB permeability was also investigated using a biotin-linked tracer. Tight junction protein (claudin-3, junctional adhesion molecule (JAM)-A and occludin) localisation was present but disorganised after gonadotrophin suppression, while mRNA levels (claudin-11, claudin-3 and occludin) were significantly (two- to threefold) increased. By contrast, both protein localisation and mRNA levels for the adaptor protein zona occludens-1 decreased after gonadotrophin suppression. FSH replacement induced a rapid reorganisation of tight junction protein localisation. The functionality of the BTB (as inferred by biotin tracer permeation) was found to be strongly associated with the organisation and localisation of claudin-11. Surprisingly, JAM-A was also recognised on spermatogonia, suggesting an additional novel role for this protein in trans-epithelial migration of germ cells across the BTB. It is concluded that gonadotrophin regulation of tight junction proteins forming the BTB occurs primarily at the level of protein organisation and not gene transcription in this species, and that immunolocalisation of the organised tight junction protein claudin-11 correlates with BTB functionality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867 - 877
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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