Influence of 5α-dihydrotestosterone and 17β-estradiol on human Sertoli cells metabolism

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Sertoli cells metabolize glucose, converting it to lactate that is used by developing germ cells for their energy metabolism. Androgens and oestrogens have metabolic roles that reach far beyond reproductive processes. So, the main purpose of this study was to examine the effect of sex steroid hormones on metabolite secretion/consumption in human Sertoli cells. Human Sertoli cell-enriched primary cultures were maintained in a defined medium for 50 h and glucose, pyruvate, lactate and alanine variations were determined using 1H-NMR spectra analysis, in the absence or presence of 100 nm 17β-estradiol (E2) or 100 nm 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The mRNA expression levels of glucose transporters, lactate dehydrogenase and monocarboxylate transporters were also determined using semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Cells cultured in the absence (control) or presence of E2 consumed the same amounts of glucose at similar rates during the 50 h. During the first 15 h of treatment with DHT, glucose consumption and glucose consumption rate were significantly higher. Nevertheless, DHT-treated cells secreted a significantly lower amount of lactate than control and E2-treated cells. Such a decrease was concomitant with a significant decrease in lactate dehydrogenase A mRNA levels after 50 h treatment in DHT-treated groups. Finally, alanine production was significantly increased in E2-treated cells after 25 h treatment, which indicated a lower redox/higher oxidative state for the cells on those conditions. These results support the existence of a relationship between sex steroid hormones action and energy metabolism, providing the first assessment of androgens and oestrogens as metabolic modulators of human Sertoli cells.

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