Activin is a pleiotropic growth factor belonging to the transforming growth factor-beta (TGFB) superfamily of signaling molecules. Regulated activin signaling is known to influence several steps in rodent male gamete differentiation. TGFB ligand isoforms, TGFB1-B3, also influence germ cell survival in the rodent testis at the onset of spermatogenesis and around the time of puberty. Given the importance of regulated activin and TGFB signaling in testis development and function, we sought to investigate the cellular production sites of activin/TGFB-signaling modulators in normal and dysfunctional adult human testes samples. Signaling transducers phosphorylated SMAD2/3, and signaling modulators SMAD6, MAN-1, inhibin alpha (INHA), and beta-glycan were detected in Bouins fixed, paraffin-embedded adult human testis sections using immunohistochemistry. Additional samples examined were from testicular cancer patients and from normal men subjected to gonadotropin suppression with androgen-based contraceptives. Our findings identify distinct differences between normal and gonadotropin-deprived human testis in the expression and cellular localization of activin/TGFB-signaling modulators. The presence of a nuclear phosphorylated SMAD2/3 signal in all analyzed seminoma specimens indicated active activin/TGFB signaling. Moreover, a subset of seminoma specimens exhibited selective enhanced expression of beta-glycan (4 out of 28 seminoma tumors), INHA (6 out of 28), and MAN-1 (6 out of 28), highlighting potential functional differences between individual tumors in their capacity to regulate activin/TGFB signaling. Within the heterogenous nonseminomas, expression of signaling modulators was variable and reflected the degree of somatic differentiation. Thus, synthesis of activin and TGFB-signaling modulators may be affected by spermatogenic disruption and altered hormone levels in the testis.
|Tidsskrift||Reproduction (Cambridge, England)|
|Status||Udgivet - nov. 2009|