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M. Rodriguez-Padilla, C. Bellido, L. Pinilla and E. Aguilar

ABSTRACT

Weights of testes, seminal vesicles, ventral prostate and pituitary, plasma testosterone and LH concentrations, pituitary LH content and concentration, the LH in-vivo response after LHRH administration (1 μg), and basal and LHRH-stimulated secretion in vitro were analysed in adult male spontaneously hypertensive (SH) and normotensive control (WKY) rats.

Spontaneously hypertensive rats showed: (1) testis and pituitary hypertrophy; (2) seminal vesicle and ventral prostate atrophy; (3) increased plasma testosterone and LH concentrations; (4) increased pituitary LH content and concentration; (5) unchanged net increase of plasma concentrations of LH 15 and 45 min after administration of 1 μg LHRH; and (6) increased basal LH secretion in vitro with a normal response to LHRH stimulation.

These results provide evidence that SH rats show increased LH secretion with a normal response to LHRH stimulation. The coexistence of high plasma concentrations of testosterone with seminal vesicle and ventral prostate atrophy suggest a reduction in the effectiveness of testosterone in these structures.

J. Endocr. (1987) 113, 255–260

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R Aguilar, F Antón, C Bellido, E Aguilar and F Gaytan

Abstract

Testicular serotonin (5HT) concentrations were determined by HPLC in the testes of rats treated neonatally with oestradiol benzoate (EB) and in adult rats treated with the Leydig cell cytotoxic ethylene dimethane sulphonate (EDS). 5HT concentrations were related to mast cell numbers. EB-treated rats showed an accumulation of mast cells in the testes at 35 and 70 days of age and increased 5HT concentrations in both the interstitial fluid and the testicular capsule, whereas no increases in 5HT concentrations or in the number of mast cells were found for the ventral prostate of these animals. On the contrary, 5HT concentrations were not related to the number of Leydig cells. In EB-treated rats, in which Leydig cells were nearly absent at 35 days of age, 5HT concentrations were significantly increased. Furthermore, EDS-treated rats did not show significant changes in 5HT concentrations, in spite of the elimination of Leydig cells. These data suggest that mast cells are a major source of serotonin in the rat testis.

Journal of Endocrinology (1995) 146, 15–21

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C Bellido, D Gonzalez, R Aguilar and JE Sanchez-Criado

We have previously shown that administration of antiprogestin (AP) type II RU486 to ovariectomized (OVX) rats on the morning of pro-oestrus decreases the magnitude of preovulatory gonadotrophin surge. This suggests that the effect of RU486 on LHRH-dependent gonadotrophin release may be independent of its ability to block progesterone actions. The aim of the present research was to study the possible site of RU486 action and to determine whether the gonadotrophin suppressive effect of APs RU486 and ZK299 is dependent on the oestrogen background. Intact or OVX rats in the morning of pro-oestrus were injected s.c. with 4 mg of RU486 or ZK299 (AP type I) at 0900 h on pro-oestrus. At 1830 h, serum concentration of FSH and LH and median eminence (ME) content of LHRH were determined. In the second experiment, the effect of RU486 and ZK299 on pituitary responsiveness to LHRH (100 ng, i.p.) and ME content of LHRH at 1830 h pentobarbital-blocked intact or OVX rats was evaluated. In the last study, the anterior pituitary release of FSH and LH from pro-oestrus or metoestrus donors incubated with or without LHRH (1, 10 or 100 nM) in the presence or absence of APs (20 nM) was evaluated. Both APs reduced serum FSH and LH levels at 1830 h on pro-oestrus in intact and OVX rats. The suppressive effect on gonadotrophin release brought about by AP treatment was also evidenced in PB-blocked intact and OVX rats. This suggested that the inhibitory effect of APs occurred, at least in part, at pituitary level. Furthermore, in the absence of the natural ligand, APs significantly reduced basal and LHRH-stimulated FSH and LH release from pro-oestrous but not from metoestrus pituitaries. In conclusion, these experiments have shown, both 'in vivo' and 'in vitro', that APs RU486 and ZK299 have suppressive effects at pituitary level on basal and LHRH-stimulated FSH and LH secretion, regardless of their antiprogestagenic activity, in pro-oestrus but not in metoestrus.

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F Gaytan, C Bellido, J L Romero, C Morales, C Reymundo and E Aguilar

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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F Gaytán, C Bellido, C Morales, E Aguilar and J E Sánchez-Criado

Abstract

The proliferative activity of the rat corpus luteum was studied on days 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19 and 21 of pregnancy. Proliferating cells were detected by the immunohistochemical demonstration of DNA-incorporated 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) and by the presence of mitoses. Steroidogenic luteal cells showed two proliferative waves on days 12–15 and on day 21, when relatively abundant BrdU-labeled and mitotic cells were observed. These cells were clearly distinguishable from non-steroidogenic cells by their round nuclei and large polygonal cytoplasm. The proliferative activity on days 12–15 was coincident with an increase in the size of the cells and in progesterone concentrations. On the other hand, the proliferative activity of non-steroidogenic luteal cells (especially endothelial cells of the blood and lymphatic vessels) followed a different pattern. These cells intensely proliferated on days 2–3 of pregnancy and this proliferative activity was significantly higher than that observed in non-pregnant rats on metestrus and diestrus. A new proliferative wave was observed on days 12–15, in association with the increase in the proliferative activity of steroidogenic cells. The presence of both BrdU-labeled and mitotic steroidogenic luteal cells provides evidence that these cells do proliferate and that both hypertrophy and hyperplasia are involved in the increase in the parenchyma of the corpus luteum during pregnancy. Also, the results suggest that different mechanisms are involved in the regulation of the proliferative activity in the corpus luteum at different times during pregnancy.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 154, 211–217

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F Gaytan, C Bellido, C Morales, M García, N van Rooijen and E Aguilar

Abstract

Testicular macrophages are a relevant cell type for the regulation of Leydig cell steroidogenesis. The availability of liposome technology allows in vivo manipulation of macrophages in order to analyze their role in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. In this study, adult (70 days of age) and prepubertal (22 days of age) rats were injected intratesticularly with liposomes containing either dichloromethylene diphosphonate (C12MDP) to deplete testicular macrophages or muramyl tripeptide (MTP-PE) to activate them. Control rats were injected with the corresponding volumes of 0·9% NaCl. Animals were killed 10 days after treatment. Adult rats injected bilaterally or unilaterally with C12MDP liposomes showed increased serum LH and testosterone concentrations, as well as increased testosterone concentrations in the testicular interstitial fluid. In unilaterally injected rats, testosterone concentrations in the interstitial fluid were higher in the macrophage-containing testes than in the contralateral, macrophage-depleted testes. Adult rats treated bilaterally with MTP-PE liposomes showed increased numbers of testicular macrophages, whereas the number of Leydig cells was unchanged. Serum LH concentrations were decreased, but no changes were found in testosterone concentrations. Prepubertal rats treated bilaterally with C12MDP liposomes showed decreased numbers of Leydig cells. However, serum LH and testosterone concentrations were increased. Otherwise, prepubertal rats treated bilaterally with MTP-PE liposomes showed increased numbers of macrophages and Leydig cells, as well as increased serum testosterone concentrations. These data suggest that testicular macrophage-derived factors act at two different levels in the pituitary-testicular axis: first, at a central level by inhibiting LH secretion, and secondly, at a local level by stimulating Leydig cell steroidogenesis.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 57–65

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F Gaytan, C Bellido, C Morales, N van Rooijen and E Aguilar

Abstract

The Leydig cells of young hypophysectomized rats are highly sensitive to the stimulatory effects of exogenous pituitary hormones. The aim of this study was to analyse the role of testicular macrophages in the response of Leydig cells to different hormones. Male rats were hypophysectomized at 28 days of age and 10 days later they were injected intratesticularly with dichloromethylene diphosphonate-containing liposomes (right testis) to deplete testicular macrophages, and with 0·9% NaCl (left testis). One week later, the animals were treated daily with 1 IU rat GH (rGH)/rat, 5 IU recombinant human FSH (recFSH)/rat, 10 IU human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)/rat, or vehicle for 7 days. The animals were killed on the day after the last injection. The animals treated with rGH showed increased body weight and increased number and size of testicular macrophages in the left testes, but no significant effects on Leydig cells were found. Treatment with recFSH induced a significant increase in testicular weight and tubular diameter in both testes. In the left testes, the number and size of macrophages were increased; the number of Leydig cells was not changed, although they showed a significantly increased cross-sectional area. This effect was abolished in the right (macrophage-depleted) testes. However, the effect of recFSH on the growth of the seminiferous tubules was not modified by the absence of macrophages. Rats treated with hCG showed increased testicular weight and serum testosterone levels, as well as an increased weight of the ventral prostate. In the left testes, the number and size of both macrophages and Leydig cells were increased. Otherwise, the number of Leydig cells was unchanged in the absence of macrophages, whereas the increase in the size of Leydig cells was partially abolished. These data indicate that testicular macrophages are needed for the response of Leydig cells to gonadotrophin treatment.

Journal of Endocrinology (1995) 147, 463–471

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José E Sánchez-Criado, Carmina Bellido, Rafaela Aguilar and José C Garrido-Gracia

Two-week ovariectomized (OVX) rats were injected over three days with 25 μg oestradiol benzoate (EB), 3 mg tamoxifen (TX) and 0.2 ml oil and their pituitaries were harvested for incubation experiments. Pituitaries from EB-and TX-treated OVX rats exhibited GnRH self-priming when incubated with their corresponding ligand. However, incubation of pituitaries with different ligands yielded divergent results: when pituitaries from EB-treated rats were incubated with 10−7 M TX they displayed GnRH self-priming, whereas incubation of pituitaries from TX-treated rats with 10−8 M oestradiol-17β (E2) blocked GnRH self-priming. Further studies to analyse the latter finding revealed that: (a) E2 inhibited TX-induced GnRH self-priming in a dose-dependent manner while 10−8 M oestradiol-17α did not; (b) co-incubation of E2 with the pure anti-oestrogen ICI 182,780, but not with the selective oestrogen receptor modulator TX, reversed the E2 inhibitory effect; (c) the oestrogen receptor (ER)-α selective agonist propylpyrazole triol, but not the ERβ selective agonist diarylpropionitrile, mimicked the inhibitory effect of E2; (d) the analogue membrane-impermeable conjugated E2-BSA also inhibited TX-induced GnRH self-priming; and (e) a 15-min exposure of the pituitaries to E2 was sufficient to inhibit the GnRH self-priming elicited by TX. Although other explanations may exist, altogether these results suggested that E2, via an ER different from classical ER, inhibits the GnRH self-priming elicited by TX.

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J. E. Sánchez-Criado, C. Bellido, F. J. López and F. Galiot

ABSTRACT

Administration of the antiprogesterone RU486 to 4-day cyclic rats from metoestrus to pro-oestrus increases serum levels of LH while decreasing levels of FSH. If it is assumed that there is only one gonado-trophin-releasing hormone, there is no direct explanation for the decrease in FSH concentrations. The purpose of these experiments was to investigate the effect of RU486 on gonadotrophin secretion in cyclic rats during periods when the secretion of LH and FSH diverges. RU486 blunted the transient increase in FSH concentration on the afternoon of metoestrus and the compensatory ovarian hypertrophy on the next day of oestrus in unilaterally ovariectomized 4–day cyclic rats. In addition, bilateral ovariectomy reversed the effect of RU486 on the basal secretion of FSH. RU486 induced an increase in basal LH concentrations. Since ovarian inhibin decreases the basal release of FSH, and decreases in peripheral inhibin seem to be responsible for the transient rise in FSH during the oestrous cycle, the effect of RU486 on serum levels of LH and FSH during dioestrus in rats injected with a sheep anti-inhibin serum (AIS) were further evaluated. Treatment with AIS increased FSH levels in oil-treated rats without altering the levels of LH. In contrast, the effects of AIS on FSH secretion were blunted in RU486-treated rats. The results suggest that inhibin might be involved in the RU486-induced decrease of FSH secretion in cyclic rats.

Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 134, 43–49

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JE Sanchez-Criado, C Bellido, M Tebar, A Ruiz and D Gonzalez

Administration of 4 mg of the antisteroid RU486 over 8 consecutive days to adult male rats dissociated in vivo and in vitro gonadotrophin secretion, increasing FSH and decreasing LH secretion. In subsequent experiments we evaluated the involvement of testicular or adrenal secretory products, as well as hypothalamic LHRH, in the effects of 4 consecutive days of RU486 treatment on the secretion of gonadotrophins. The first day of RU486 injection was designated day 1, subsequent days being numbered consecutively. Groups of rats injected with oil (0.2 ml) or RU486 (4 mg) were: (i) injected s.c. from day 1 to day 4 with the antiandrogen flutamide (10 mg/kg); (ii) bilateral orchidectomized (ORCH) on day 1; and (iii) bilateral adrenalectomized (ADX) on day 1. Controls were given flutamide vehicle or were sham operated. To ascertain whether the secretion of LHRH is involved in the effects of RU486 on gonadotrophin secretion, we measured the LHRH secretion into the pituitary stalk blood vessels at 1100 h on day 5 in oil- or RU486-treated rats. Additional oil- and RU486-treated rats were injected i.p. with 100 ng LHRH at 1000 h on day 5, or s.c. with 1 mg LHRH antagonist (LHRH-ANT) at 1000 h on days 2 and 4. Controls were given saline. All animals were decapitated at 1100 h on day 5, trunk blood collected and serum stored frozen until FSH, LH and testosterone assays.%While ADX had no effect on FSH and LH secretion in either oil- or RU486-treated rats, the removal of androgen negative feedback with flutamide treatment or by ORCH substantially increased serum levels of FSH and LH in both oil- and RU486-treated rats, and thus annulled the effects of RU486. No differences in pituitary stalk plasma LHRH concentrations were found between oil- and RU486-treated rats. Injection of LHRH increased serum FSH and LH concentrations in oil-treated rats but only, and to a lesser extent, LH concentrations in RU486-treated rats. Treatment with LHRH-ANT decreased serum concentrations of FSH and LH in both oil- and RU486-treated rats. These results suggest that RU486 inhibited LHRH-stimulated LH secretion at the pituitary level, and that FSH secretion increased in response to a reduction in the negative feedback of androgen.