The transforming growth factor-beta superfamily in early spermatogenesis: potential relevance to testicular dysgenesis

Katherine Ann Lakoski Loveland, Vinali Leena Dias, Sarah J Meachem, Ewa Rajpert-De Meyts

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Regulated transforming growth factor-? (TGF?) superfamily signalling is an integral part of normal testicular development and the processes that enable the production of fertile sperm. Through shared utilization of receptors, signal transduction components and inhibitors, many ligands in this family exhibit functional overlaps; this facet of their function is critical to understand because these ligands are often co-expressed and, hence, they may compete with or compensate for one another, depending on the specific cellular context. This review describes particular germ cell maturation steps governed by bone morphogenetic proteins, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and activins, focusing on data predominantly from rodent studies that implicate activin and other family members in modulation of gonocyte and spermatogonial stem cell development. We also review knowledge of the TGF? superfamily signalling components in the human testis, exploring their potential impact on the processes associated with disrupted gonocyte development and an enhanced risk of testicular cancer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)337 - 384
    Number of pages47
    JournalInternational Journal of Andrology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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