Postnatal expression of nerve growth factor receptors in the rat testis

D. Djakiew, B. Pflug, C. Dionne, M. Onoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Because nerve growth factor β (NGFβ) and its corresponding receptors have been implicated in the paracrine regulation of spermatogenesis, we examined the postnatal developmental expression of the low- and high-affinity NGF receptors in the rat testis, and localized their expression to specific testicular cell types. The neurotropin receptors consist of a low-affinity p75 nerve growth factor receptor (LNGFR) and a family of high-affinity tyrosine receptor kinases (trk). Both the p75 LNGFR gene product and the trk receptor gene product were detected in immature rat testes, with maximal expression in 10- and 20-day-old rats. Expression of the testicular p75 LNGFR and the trk receptor progressively declined in older animals so that they were barely detectable in 90-day-old adult rats. The 75-kDa LNGFR was detected in membrane fractions of Sertoli cells, whereas the p75 LNGFR was not detected by Western blot in membrane fractions of round spermatids and primary spermatocytes. Interestingly, microsomal fractions of peritubular myoid cells were immunoreactive for a 65-kDa band on Western blots with the p75 LNGFR monoclonal antibody. Immunoblot analysis of the trk receptor in cell lysates of isolated cell types was inconclusive. Excess NGFβ and round spermatid protein, which is known to contain a NGF-like protein, were both capable of displacing the binding of 125I-NGFβ from the surface of Sertoli cells. Scatchard analysis of 125I-NGFβ binding to Sertoli cells identified a low-affinity binding site (K(d) = 6.3 ± 2.8 x 10-9 M), consistent with the characteristics of the p75 LNGFR, and a high-affinity binding site (K(d) = 3.2 ± 1.2 x 10-11 M), consistent with the characteristics of the trk receptor. These results characterize the postnatal developmental expression of a p75 LNGFR and a trk receptor localized to Sertoli cells consistent with their role in the paracrine regulation of spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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