Decreased number and size and the defective function of testicular macrophages in long-term hypophysectomized rats are reversed by treatment with human gonadotrophins

in Journal of Endocrinology
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Abstract

Macrophages are a common cell type in the testicular interstitium of the rat and are morphologically and functionally related to Leydig cells. We investigated the number of macrophages and Leydig cells in long-term (24 weeks) hypophysectomized (LTHX) or sham-operated rats. LTHX rats showed a 76% decrease in the number of macrophages, whereas the number of Leydig cells was only slightly decreased (by 18%). The profile areas of both macrophages and Leydig cells were very much decreased (46% and 66% respectively).

Sham-operated and LTHX rats were treated with vehicle or human FSH and LH (hFSH/hLH; 75 IU/kg body weight per day) for 1 week. This treatment induced a 286% increase in the number of macrophages and a 32% increase in the number of Leydig cells in LTHX rats. The profile areas of macrophages and Leydig cells were also increased (212% and 184% respectively). About 80% of macrophages showed vacuolization of the cytoplasm. Gonadotrophin treatment did not induce changes in cell numbers in sham-operated animals but about 30% of macrophages showed large cytoplasmic vacuoles.

Vehicle- or hormone-treated LTHX rats were given a single injection of ethylene dimethane sulphonate (EDS) and killed 72 h later. Leydig cells were absent from the testicular interstitium of sham-operated rats but there were large numbers of dead Leydig cells (about 40% of the pre-existing population) in the testicular interstitium of LTHX rats 3 days after EDS treatment. Complete clearance of the testicular interstitium from EDS-killed Leydig cells was found in LTHX rats treated with hFSH/hLH. These results indicate that the decreased number and size and the defective function of testicular macrophages in LTHX rats can be restored by treatment with gonadotrophins.

Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 140, 399–407

 

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