Immunolocalization of proteins in the spermatogenesis process of canine
Spermatogenesis is a process in which differentiated cells are produced and the adult stem cell population—known as spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs)—is continuously replenished. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes are not fully understood in the canine species. We addressed this in this study by analysing the expression of specific markers in spermatogonia of seminiferous tubules of canine testes. SSCs at different stages of reproductive development (prepubertal and adult) were examined by immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor family receptor alpha-1 (GFRA1), deleted in azoospermia-like (DAZL) and promyelocytic leukaemia zinc finger (PLZF) were expressed in SSCs, while stimulated by retinoic acid gene 8 (STRA8) was detected only in undifferentiated spermatogonia in prepubertal testis and differentiated spermatogonia and spermatocytes in adult canine. Octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4) showed an expression pattern, and the levels did not differ between the groups examined. However, C-kit expression varied as a function of reproductive developmental stage. Our results demonstrate that these proteins play critical roles in the self-renewal and differentiation of SSCs and can serve as markers to identify canine spermatogonia at specific stages of development.