Genetic variants in diacylglycerol kinase κ (DGKK) have been strongly associated with risk of hypospadias. We investigated the expression pattern of Dgkk during development of mouse external genitalia to better understand its function and mechanism in the etiology of hypospadias.Materials and Methods:
We performed Dgkk expression analysis via indirect immunofluorescence in histological sections of CD-1 mouse embryonic and postnatal male, female and diethylsilbestrol treated external genitalia. Histological findings were supplemented with DGKK expression analysis using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assays.Results:
In mouse external genitalia Dgkk was expressed in the membrane and cytoplasm of differentiating squamous epithelial cells of urethral plate/groove and epidermis but not in the undifferentiated epithelial cells of preputial lamina or basal layer of urethral groove epithelium. CD-1 gestation day 18 male mouse genital tubercle treated with oil or diethylstilbestrol showed similar patterns of Dgkk expression despite many morphological differences, including formation of preputial cleft observed in diethylsilbestrol treated mice.Conclusions:
Dgkk appears to be a marker or mediator of squamous cell differentiation during development of mouse external genitalia. However, no association exists between Dgkk expression and formation of preputial cleft in the genital tubercle of diethylsilbestrol treated mice, suggesting that these 2 events may follow independent pathways in mice. Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of DGKK in hypospadias.