To assess the spatiotemporal changes in the expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/ 2), c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) in response to heat stress in the cryptorchid testis, and to investigate a possible relation to Sertoli cell dedifferentiation.Methods
Immunohistochemistry and western blot were used to examine the expression and activation of ERK1/2, p38 and JNK in the cryptorchid testis at various stages after experimental cryptorchidism.Results
The abdominal temperature did not obviously change the total ERK1/2 expression but significantly activated phospho-ERK1/2 in the Sertoli cells of the cryptorchid testis. Heat stress increased total JNK expression in the Sertoli cells of the cryptorchid testis but did not activate phospho-JNK. Neither total p38 nor phospho-p38 was induced by heat stress in the Sertoli cells of the cryptorchid testis. Changes in the spatiotemporal expression of cytokeratin 18 (CK18), a marker of immature or undifferentiated Sertoli cells, were induced in the cryptorchid testis in a pattern similar to the activation of ERK1/2.Conclusion
The activation of ERK1/2 in the testis may be related to dedifferentiation of Sertoli cells under heat stress induced by experimental cryptorchidism.