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C Moran, L Morales, U Quiroz, and R Dominguez

We report the effects that sectioning the superior ovarian nerve of infantile female rats has on their follicular development at different ages before puberty. Compared with the control group, sham-operated animals showed a significant decrease in the number of measured follicles in right and left ovaries, although no difference in the follicular atresia ratio was observed. Animals with a sectioned left superior ovarian nerve (SON), killed 12 days after surgery had a significant increase in the number of follicles in the ovaries. Most of the follicles were atretic. Sectioning the right SON induced contrasting effects in the ovaries of animals killed 4 and 16 days after surgery. Rats with a denervated (right) ovary showed a decrease in the number of follicles and a greater number of atretic follicles compared with the control group, whereas the innervated (left) ovary showed an increase in measured follicles compared with the control group. Bilateral sectioning had no apparent effect on the total number of follicles measured, although an increased number of atretic follicles in both ovaries was observed. Animals with a unilateral section of the SON, killed 8 and 12 days after surgery, showed a decrease in serum concentrations of estradiol. In turn, animals killed 16 days after surgery showed a significant increase in estradiol and a decrease in the progesterone serum concentration. These results suggest that sympathetic innervation of the ovary via the SON has a stimulatory role in the regulation and differentiation of follicular growth.

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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 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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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 Morales, C Bellido, R Aguilar, Y Millan, J Martin De Las Mulas, and JE Sanchez-Criado

Preovulatory surges of both prolactin (PRL) and progesterone have been suggested to be necessary for the induction of apoptosis in the regressing corpus luteum of the cyclic rat. The aim of these experiments was to study whether the administration of PRL and/or progesterone on the morning of pro-oestrus reproduces the regressive changes that happen in the cyclic corpus luteum (CL) during the transition from pro-oestrus to oestrus, and to analyse the temporal relationships between two characteristic features of structural luteolysis (luteal cell apoptosis and accumulation of macrophages). Cyclic rats (treated at 0900 h with an LHRH antagonist to block LH secretion) were injected at 1000 h with PRL and progesterone and killed at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 180 min after treatment. The number of apoptotic cells increased progressively from 60 min after treatment onward in hormone-treated rats, whereas the number of macrophages did not change throughout the period of time considered. Rats injected with PRL plus progesterone showed significantly greater numbers of apoptotic cells than those injected with PRL alone. The luteolytic effects of progesterone were in keeping with the presence of luteal endothelial cells showing progesterone receptor (PR) immunoreactivity in pro-oestrus. Treatment of rats during dioestrus and pro-oestrus with the specific antioestrogens LY117018 and RU58668 decreased the luteolytic effects of PRL and progesterone and the number of luteal endothelial cells immunostained for PR. These results strongly suggest that the preovulatory PRL surge and the preovulatory increase in progesterone together trigger structural regression of the corpus luteum. This seems to be dependent on oestrogen-driven cyclic changes in PRs in luteal endothelial cells.

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C Zermeño, J Guzmán-Morales, Y Macotela, G Nava, F López-Barrera, J B Kouri, C Lavalle, G Martínez de la Escalera, and C Clapp

The apoptosis of chondrocytes plays an important role in endochondral bone formation and in cartilage degradation during aging and disease. Prolactin (PRL) is produced in chondrocytes and is known to promote the survival of various cell types. Here we show that articular chondrocytes from rat postpubescent and adult cartilage express the long form of the PRL receptor as revealed by immunohistochemistry of cartilage sections and by RT-PCR and Western blot analyses of the isolated chondrocytes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PRL inhibits the apoptosis of these same chondrocytes cultured in low-serum. Chondrocyte apoptosis was measured by hypodiploid DNA content determined by flow cytometry and by DNA fragmentation evaluated by the ELISA and the TUNEL methods. The anti-apoptotic effect of PRL was dose-dependent and was prevented by heat inactivation. These data demonstrate that PRL can act as a survival factor for chondrocytes and that it has potential preventive and therapeutic value in arthropathies characterized by cartilage degradation.

Free access

AM Corbacho, Y Macotela, G Nava, L Torner, Z Duenas, G Noris, MA Morales, G Martinez De La Escalera, and C Clapp

Members of the prolactin (PRL) hormonal family have direct effects on endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube formation. Moreover, isoforms of PRL may function as autocrine regulators of endothelial cells. Bovine brain capillary endothelial cells (BBCEC) express the PRL gene, while anti-PRL antibodies inhibit BBCEC proliferation. Here, we show the expression of the PRL gene into various PRL isoforms in endothelial cells from the human umbilical vein. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of total RNA from human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) detected the full-length PRL mRNA as well as a 100 bp smaller PRL transcript similar to the one previously reported in BBCEC. HUVEC were positive to PRL immunocytochemistry. In addition, various PRL immunoreactive proteins were detected in HUVEC extracts and HUVEC conditioned media by metabolic labelling immunoprecipitation analysis. These PRL immunorelated proteins had apparent molecular masses of 60, 23, 21, 16 and 14 kDa. In contrast to previous findings in BBCEC, HUVEC conditioned media contained very little PRL bioactivity as determined by the selective bioassay of Nb2 cell proliferation. Moreover, some polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies directed against PRL stimulated HUVEC proliferation, in contrast to the inhibitory effect seen in BBCEC. The present findings extend the previous observations about the expression of PRL gene in endothelial cells from bovine brain capillaries to human cells of the umbilical vein, implicating that endothelium from different types of vessels and species share the expression of PRL gene but may differ in the putative autocrine role of the PRL isoforms expressed.