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Schell, C., Albrecht, M., Spillner, S., Mayer, C., Kunz, Lars ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3141-0005, Köhn, F. M., Schwarzer, U. and Mayerhofer, Artur (2010): 15-Deoxy-Delta(12-14)-Prostaglandin-J2 Induces Hypertrophy and Loss of Contractility in Human Testicular Peritubular Cells: Implications for Human Male Fertility. In: Endocrinology, Vol. 151, No. 3: pp. 1257-1268

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The wall of the seminiferous tubules contains contractile smooth-muscle-like peritubular cells, thought to be important for sperm transport. Impaired spermatogenesis in men typically involves remodeling of this wall, and we now found that smooth muscle cell (SMC) markers, namely myosin heavy chain (MYH11) and smooth muscle actin (SMA) are often lost or diminished in peritubular cells of testes of men with impaired spermatogenesis. This suggests reduced contractility of the peritubular wall, which may contribute to sub-or infertility. In these cases, testicular expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) implies formation of prostaglandins (PGs). When screening different PGs for their ability to target human testicular peritubular cells (HTPCs), only a PG metabolite, 15-deoxy-Delta(12-14)-prostaglandin-J2 (15dPGJ2), was effective. In primary cultures of HTPCs, 15dPGJ2 increased cell size in a reversible manner. Importantly, 15dPGJ2 treatment resulted in a loss of typical differentiation markers for SMCs, namely MYH11, calponin, and SMA, whereas fibroblast markers were unchanged. Collagen gel contraction assays revealed that this loss correlates with a reduced ability to contract. Experiments with an antagonist (bisphenol A diglycidyl ether) and agonist (troglitazone) for a cognate 15dPGJ2 receptor (i.e. peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma) indicated that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma is not directly involved. Rather, the mode of action of 15dPGJ2 involves reactive oxygen species. The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine not only blocked ROS formation but also prevented the increase in cell size and the loss of contractility in HTPCs challenged with 15dPGJ2. We conclude that 15dPGJ2, via reactive oxygen species, influences SMC phenotype and contractility of human peritubular cells and possibly is involved in the development of human male sub-/infertility. (Endocrinology 151: 1257-1268, 2010)

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