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  • Author: Hiroshi Kohriki x
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Itaru Minagawa, Dai Sagata, Ali Mohammed Pitia, Hiroshi Kohriki, Masatoshi Shibata, Hiroshi Sasada, Yoshihisa Hasegawa and Tetsuya Kohsaka

Relaxin-like factor (RLF), now mainly known as insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3), is essential for testis descent during fetal development; however, its function in the adult testis is still being elucidated. As a major step toward understanding the as-yet-unknown function of INSL3 in boars, this study aimed to develop a time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay for boar INSL3, characterize the dynamics of INSL3 expression during development, and demonstrate the expression of the INSL3 hormone–receptor system in the testis. All samples were collected from Duroc boars. The sensitivity of the assay system established was 8.2 pg/well (164 pg/ml), and no cross-reactivity with other hormones, such as porcine relaxin, was observed. Circulating INSL3 was shown to increase progressively during development. INSL3 secreted from the Leydig cells was released not only into the blood circulation but also into the interstitial and seminiferous compartments in sufficient concentrations. A testicular fractionation study revealed that its receptor RXFP2 transcripts were expressed mainly in testicular germ cells. In addition, INSL3 bound to the germ cell membranes in a hormone-specific and saturable manner. These results reveal that INSL3 secreted into the interstitial compartment from the Leydig cells is transported into the seminiferous compartments, where its receptor RXFP2 is expressed mainly in the germ cells to which INSL3 binds, suggesting that INSL3 functions as a paracrine factor on seminiferous germ cells.