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A. Bergh, J.-E. Damber, and N. van Rooijen

ABSTRACT

Liposome-entrapped dichloromethylene diphosphonate (Cl2MDP) was injected locally into the right testes of adult rats in order to deplete testicular macrophages. The number of testicular macrophages in the treated testes was reduced by at least 90% at 7 and 14 days after treatment. Unilaterally testicular macrophage-depleted animals were treated with 100 IU human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) subcutaneously and the inflammatory response was compared in the macrophage-depleted and intact contralateral testis. Four hours after hCG treatment, intratesticular testosterone was similarly increased in intact and macrophage-depleted testes. In macrophage-depleted testes there was a large increase in the number of leukocytes in testicular blood vessels and numerous leukocytes had migrated into the interstitial tissue. This response was greater than in the intact contralateral testis. It was concluded that testicular macrophages are probably not the origin of the inflammatory mediator secreted in the rat testis after hCG treatment. On the contrary, it appears that testicular macrophages may secrete factors inhibiting hCG-induced testicular inflammation.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 136, 415–420

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A. Bergh, J.-E. Damber, and N. van Rooijen

ABSTRACT

Liposome-entrapped dichloromethylene diphosphonate was injected locally into the right testes of adult rats. This treatment, which has been found to deplete resident macrophages in some other organs, reduced the number of testicular macrophages by at least 90%. Testicular weight and seminiferous tubule morphology were unaffected by liposome treatment. Leydig cell testosterone secretion gradually declined in the macrophage-depleted testes, and there was a compensatory increase in Leydig cell size and testosterone secretion in the contralateral saline-injected testes. These observations suggest that macrophages influence Leydig cell function locally. It is concluded that liposome-mediated depletion of testicular macrophages may serve as an experimental model with which to study the physiological role of these cells.

Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 136, 407–413

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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