Age dependent variations in the deep brain photoreceptors (DBPs), GnRH-GnIH system and testicular steroidogenesis in Japanese quail,Coturnix coturnix japonica

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Abstract

The complex physiology of aging involves a number of molecular and biochemical events, manifested as signs of senescence. Japanese quail is a very unique and advantageous model to study the signs and symptoms of senescence in the central and peripheral modules of HPG axis. In the present study, we have investigated the age dependent variations in hypothalamic deep brain photoreceptors (DBPs), central GnRH-I/II-GnIH-Mel1cR system, testicular GnRH-GnIH system, testicular steroidogenic genes and proteins, androgen receptor (AR) and serum testosterone level in quail of different age groups [3-wk (sexually immature), 6-wk (sexually mature and crossed the puberty), 16-wk (adult, sexually active and showing full breeding phase) and 144-wk (aged)]. Findings of our present study showed the differential expression of these genes/proteins in quail of different age groups. The low levels of the DBPs, GnRH-I, GnIH, Mel1cR in hypothalamus and GnRH-II in midbrain, significantly decreased testicular GnRH/GnRH-R-GnIH, steroidogenic genes/proteins and serum testosterone were observed in immature quail. The significantly increased expression of opsins in the DBPs, GnRH-I, GnIH, Mel1cR in hypothalamus and GnRH-II in midbrain influences the testicular GnRH-GnIH and stimulate the testicular steroidogenesis in mature and adult quail. In aged quail, the significantly decreased levels of hypothalamic DBPs, GnRH-I, GnIH, Mel1cR and midbrain GnRH-II modulates the testicular GnRH-GnIH and further suppresses the genes/proteins involved in steroidogenesis and results in reduced serum testosterone. Hence, it can be concluded from our findings that the testicular steroidogenesis and its neuroendocrine regulation varies with age, in Japanese quail.

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