Connexin 43 expression in human and mouse testes with impaired spermatogenesis
AbstractConnexin 43 (Cx43) belongs to a family of proteins that form gap junction channels. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of Cx43 in the testis of a patient with Klinefelter’s syndrome and of mice with the mosaic mutation and a partial deletion in the long arm of the Y chromosome. These genetic disorders are characterized by the presence of numerous degenerated seminiferous tubules and impaired spermatogenesis. In mouse testes, the expression and presence of Cx43 were detected by means of immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis, respectively. In testes of Klinefelter’s patient only immunoexpression of Cx43 was detected. Regardless of the species Cx43 protein was ubiquitously distributed in testes of reproductively normal males, whereas in those with testicular disorders either a weak intensity of staining or no staining within the seminiferous tubules was observed. Moderate to strong or very strong staining was confined to the interstitial tissue. In an immunoblot analysis of testicular homogenates Cx43 appeared as one major band of approximately 43 kDa. Our study adds three more examples of pathological gonads in which the absence or apparent decrease of Cx43 expression within the seminiferous tubules was found. A positive correlation between severe spermatogenic impairment and loss of Cx43 immunoreactivity observed in this study supports previous data that gap junctions play a crucial role in spermatogenesis. Strong Cx43 expression detected mostly in the interstitial tissue of the Klinefelter’s patient may presumably be of importance in sustaining Leydig cell metabolic activity. However, the role of gap junction communication in the control of Leydig cell function seems to be more complex than originally thought.
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Copyright (c) 2009 M Kotula-Balak, A Hejmej, J Sadowska, B Bilinska
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