Changes in Testicular Interstitial Connective Tissue of Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) During Ageing and After Exposure to Short Photoperiod

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The testicular interstitium of Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) was studied during ageing and in testicular regression after exposure to a short photoperiod, in relation to the interstitial cells and their connective tissue. This tissue was assessed histochemically using Masson's trichrome technique and the expression of Heat Shock Protein 47 (HSP-47) and collagen IV (α5) was assessed in Leydig cells. Finally, an ultrastructural analysis of some cells of the testicular interstitium was made. Leydig cells were positive for HSP-47 and collagen IV (α5). Ageing did not change the parameters studied while the short photoperiod altered the synthetic activity of Leydig cells. The positivity index of these cells for HSP-47 was significantly higher in the regressed testis, but was lower for collagen IV (α5). During ageing no change were observed. Ultrastructural Leydig cells showed a discontinuous basal lamina that did not change during ageing. The basal lamina was not identified in Leydig cells regressed by exposure to a short photoperiod. In conclusion; the intertubular connective tissue suffers little change with age. By contrast, in the testis regressed after exposure to a short photoperiod the studied parameters related to the intertubular connective tissue were altered. These changes are probably related with the low synthetic activity of regressed Leydig cell.

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