Non-classical effects of androgens on testes from neonatal rats

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Abstract

The intratesticular testosterone concentration is high during the early postnatal period although the intracellular androgen receptor expression (iAR) is still absent in Sertoli cells (SCs). This study aimed to evaluate the non-classical effects of testosterone and epitestosterone on calcium uptake and the electrophysiological effects of testosterone (1 μM) on SCs from rats on postnatal day (pnd) 3 and 4 with lack of expression of the iAR. In addition, crosstalk on the electrophysiological effects of testosterone and epitestosterone with follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in SCs from 15-day-old rats was evaluated. The isotope 45Ca2+ was utilized to evaluate the effects of testosterone and epitestosterone in calcium uptake. The membrane potential of SCs was recorded using a standard single microelectrode technique. No immunoreaction concerning the iAR was observed in SCs on pnd 3 and 4. At this age, both testosterone and epitestosterone increased the 45Ca2+ uptake. Testosterone promoted membrane potential depolarization of SCs on pnd 4. FSH application followed by testosterone and epitestosterone reduced the depolarization of the two hormones. Application of epitestosterone 5 min after FSH resulted in a delay of epitestosterone-promoted depolarization. The cell resistance was also reduced. Thus, in SCs from neonatal Wistar rats, both testosterone and epitestosterone act through a non-classical mechanism stimulating calcium uptake in whole testes, and testosterone produces a depolarizing effect on SC membranes. Testosterone and epitestosterone stimulates non-classical actions via a membrane mechanism, which is independent of iAR. FSH and testosterone/epitestosterone affect each other’s electrophysiological responses suggesting crosstalk between the intracellular signaling pathways.

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