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Mayerhofer, Artur; Walenta, Lena; Mayer, Christine; Eubler, Katja; Welter, Harald (2018): Human testicular peritubular cells, mast cells and testicular inflammation. In: Andrologia, Vol. 50, No. 11, e13055
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In man, the wall of seminiferous tubules forms a testicular compartment, which contains several layers of smooth muscle-like, "myoid", peritubular cells and extracellular matrix. Its architecture and its cellular composition change in male infertility associated with impaired spermatogenesis. Increased deposits of extracellular matrix, changes in the smooth muscle-like phenotype of peritubular cells and accumulation of immune cells, especially mast cells, are among the striking alterations. Taken together, the changes indicate that inflammatory events take place in particular within this compartment. This short review summarises recent studies, which pinpoint possible mechanisms of the interplay between peritubular cells and mast cells, which may contribute to sterile inflammation and impairments of testicular function. These insights are based mainly on cellular studies, for which we used isolated human testicular peritubular cells (HTPCs), and on the examination of human testicular sections. Recent data on immunological properties of peritubular cells, unexpected roles of the extracellular matrix factor, biglycan, which is secreted by peritubular cells and functions of mast cell products (chymase, tryptase and ATP) are presented. We believe that the results may foster a better understanding of peritubular cells, their roles in the human testis and specifically their involvement in infertility.