SciCombinator

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Concept: Puberty

534

Concern has been raised over increased male reproductive disorders in the Western world, and the disruption of male endocrinology has been suggested to play a central role. Several studies have shown that mild analgesics exposure during fetal life is associated with antiandrogenic effects and congenital malformations, but the effects on the adult man remain largely unknown. Through a clinical trial with young men exposed to ibuprofen, we show that the analgesic resulted in the clinical condition named “compensated hypogonadism,” a condition prevalent among elderly men and associated with reproductive and physical disorders. In the men, luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased. Using adult testis explants exposed or not exposed to ibuprofen, we demonstrate that the endocrine capabilities from testicular Leydig and Sertoli cells, including testosterone production, were suppressed through transcriptional repression. This effect was also observed in a human steroidogenic cell line. Our data demonstrate that ibuprofen alters the endocrine system via selective transcriptional repression in the human testes, thereby inducing compensated hypogonadism.

Concepts: Endocrinology, Luteinizing hormone, Testosterone, Testicle, Sertoli cell, Puberty, Endocrine system, Ovary

447

Sex, emotion, and reproduction are fundamental and tightly entwined aspects of human behavior. At a population level in humans, both the desire for sexual stimulation and the desire to bond with a partner are important precursors to reproduction. However, the relationships between these processes are incompletely understood. The limbic brain system has key roles in sexual and emotional behaviors, and is a likely candidate system for the integration of behavior with the hormonal reproductive axis. We investigated the effects of kisspeptin, a recently identified key reproductive hormone, on limbic brain activity and behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Human, Male, Reproduction, Limbic system, Motivation, Puberty, Emotion

252

As with many anti-cancer drugs, the topoisomerase II inhibitor etoposide is considered safe for administration to women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, but assessment of effects on the developing fetus have been limited. The purpose of this research was to examine the effect of etoposide on germ cells in the developing ovary. Mouse ovary tissue culture was used as the experimental model, thus allowing us to examine effects of etoposide on all stages of germ cell development in the same way, in vitro.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Embryo, Chemotherapy, Cellular differentiation, Puberty, Germ cell

223

The decline of circulating testosterone levels in aging men is associated with adverse health effects. During studies of probiotic bacteria and obesity, we discovered that male mice routinely consuming purified lactic acid bacteria originally isolated from human milk had larger testicles and increased serum testosterone levels compared to their age-matched controls. Further investigation using microscopy-assisted histomorphometry of testicular tissue showed that mice consuming Lactobacillus reuteri in their drinking water had significantly increased seminiferous tubule cross-sectional profiles and increased spermatogenesis and Leydig cell numbers per testis when compared with matched diet counterparts This showed that criteria of gonadal aging were reduced after routinely consuming a purified microbe such as L. reuteri. We tested whether these features typical of sustained reproductive fitness may be due to anti-inflammatory properties of L. reuteri, and found that testicular mass and other indicators typical of old age were similarly restored to youthful levels using systemic administration of antibodies blocking pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-17A. This indicated that uncontrolled host inflammatory responses contributed to the testicular atrophy phenotype in aged mice. Reduced circulating testosterone levels have been implicated in many adverse effects; dietary L. reuteri or other probiotic supplementation may provide a viable natural approach to prevention of male hypogonadism, absent the controversy and side-effects of traditional therapies, and yield practical options for management of disorders typically associated with normal aging. These novel findings suggest a potential high impact for microbe therapy in public health by imparting hormonal and gonad features of reproductive fitness typical of much younger healthy individuals.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Testicle, Reproductive system, Sertoli cell, Probiotic, Lactobacillus, Puberty

180

A number of environmental factors (e.g. toxicants) have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and phenotypic variation. Transgenerational inheritance requires the germline transmission of altered epigenetic information between generations in the absence of direct environmental exposures. The primary periods for epigenetic programming of the germ line are those associated with primordial germ cell development and subsequent fetal germline development. The current study examined the actions of an agricultural fungicide vinclozolin on gestating female (F0 generation) progeny in regards to the primordial germ cell (PGC) epigenetic reprogramming of the F3 generation (i.e. great-grandchildren). The F3 generation germline transcriptome and epigenome (DNA methylation) were altered transgenerationally. Interestingly, disruptions in DNA methylation patterns and altered transcriptomes were distinct between germ cells at the onset of gonadal sex determination at embryonic day 13 (E13) and after cord formation in the testis at embryonic day 16 (E16). A larger number of DNA methylation abnormalities (epimutations) and transcriptional alterations were observed in the E13 germ cells than in the E16 germ cells. These observations indicate that altered transgenerational epigenetic reprogramming and function of the male germline is a component of vinclozolin induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease. Insights into the molecular control of germline transmitted epigenetic inheritance are provided.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Histone, Epigenetics, Cellular differentiation, DNA methylation, Puberty

165

Histamine (HA) is a pleiotropic biogenic amine synthesized exclusively by histidine decarboxylase (HDC) in most mammalian tissues. The literature on the role of HA within the male gonad has expanded over the last years, attracting attention to potential unexpected side-effects of anti-histamines on testicular function. In this regard, HA receptors (HRH1, HRH2 and HRH4) have been described in Leydig cells of different species, including human. Via these receptors, HA has been reported to trigger positive or negative interactions with the LH/hCG signaling pathway depending upon its concentration, thereby contributing to the local control of testicular androgen levels. It should then be considered that anti-histamines may affect testicular homeostasis by increasing or decreasing steroid production. Additionally, HRH1 and HRH2 receptors are present in peritubular and germ cells, and HRH2 antagonists have been found to negatively affect peritubular cells and reduce sperm viability. The potential negative impact of anti-histamines on male reproduction becomes even more dramatic if we consider that HA has also been associated with human sexual behavior and penile erection. What is more, although testicular mast cells are the major source of locally produced HA, recent studies have described HDC expression in macrophages, Leydig cells and germ cells, revealing the existence of multiple sources of HA within the testis. Undoubtedly, the more we learn about the testicular histaminergic system, the more opportunities there will be for rational design of drugs aimed at treating HA-related pathologies, with minimum or nule negative impact on fertility.

Concepts: Immune system, Sexual intercourse, Human, Reproduction, Reproductive system, Histamine, Human sexual behavior, Puberty

160

Primordial germ cells (PGCs) arise elsewhere in the embryo and migrate into developing gonadal ridges during embryonic development. In several model animals, formation and migration patterns of PGCs have been studied, and it is known that these patterns vary. Sturgeons (genus Acipenser) have great potential for comparative and evolutionary studies of development. Sturgeons belong to the super class Actinoptergii, and their developmental pattern is similar to that of amphibians, although their phylogenetic position is an out-group to teleost fishes. Here, we reveal an injection technique for sturgeon eggs allowing visualization of germplasm and PGCs. Using this technique, we demonstrate that the PGCs are generated at the vegetal pole of the egg and they migrate on the yolky cell mass toward the gonadal ridge. We also provide evidence showing that PGCs are specified by inheritance of maternally supplied germplasm. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the migratory mechanism is well-conserved between sturgeon and other remotely related teleosts, such as goldfish, by a single PGCs transplantation (SPT) assay. The mode of PGCs specification in sturgeon is similar to that of anurans, but the migration pattern resembles that of teleosts.

Concepts: Gene, Embryo, Developmental biology, Human migration, Germ cells, Puberty, Actinopterygii, Sturgeon

157

Astragalus membranaceus (AM) is a Chinese traditional herb which has been reported to have broad positive effects on many diseases, including hepatitis, heart disease, diabetes and skin disease. AM can promote cell proliferation, increase the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and inhibit apoptosis by regulating the transcription of proto-oncogenes controlling cell death. While AM is included in some commercially available “testosterone boosting supplements”, studies directly testing ability of AM to modulate testosterone production are lacking. In the present study, we examined the effects of AM on Leydig cell function in vitro.

Concepts: Cancer, Death, Luteinizing hormone, Superoxide dismutase, Testosterone, Sertoli cell, Puberty, Leydig cell

156

149

Twenty-four-month-old male C57BL/6 mice with low serum testosterone levels were used as a late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) animal model for examining the effects of velvet antler polypeptide (VAP) on sexual function and testosterone synthesis. These mice received VAP for 5 consecutive weeks by daily gavage at doses of 100, 200, or 300 mg kg-1 body weight per day (n = 10 mice per dose). Control animals (n = 10) received the same weight-based volume of vehicle. Sexual behavior and testosterone levels in serum and interstitial tissue of testis were measured after the last administration of VAP. Furthermore, to investigate the mechanisms of how VAP affects sexual behavior and testosterone synthesis in vivo, the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cytochrome P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) in Leydig cells was also measured by immunofluorescence staining and quantitative real-time PCR. As a result, VAP produced a significant improvement in the sexual function of these aging male mice. Serum testosterone level and intratesticular testosterone (ITT) concentration also increased in the VAP-treated groups. The expression of StAR, P450scc, and 3β-HSD was also found to be enhanced in the VAP-treated groups compared with the control group. Our results suggested that VAP was effective in improving sexual function in aging male mice. The effect of velvet antler on sexual function was due to the increased expression of several rate-limiting enzymes of testosterone synthesis (StAR, P450scc, and 3β-HSD) and the following promotion of testosterone synthesis in vivo.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Enzyme, Testosterone, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, Puberty, Cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein