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Welter, Harald; Herrmann, Carola; Dellweg, Nils; Missel, Annika; Thanisch, Christiane; Urbanski, Henryk F.; Koehn, Frank-Michael; Schwarzer, J. Ullrich; Müller-Taubenberger, Annette; Mayerhofer, Artur (2020): The Glucocorticoid Receptor NR3C1 in Testicular Peritubular Cells is Developmentally Regulated and Linked to the Smooth Muscle-Like Cellular Phenotype. In: Journal of Clinical Medicine, Vol. 9, No. 4, 961
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Abstract

Whether glucocorticoids (GC) can directly affect human testicular functions is not well understood. A predominant site of GC receptor (GR;NR3C1) expression in the adult testis are peritubular smooth muscle-like cells, which express smooth muscle actin (ACTA2), contract and thereby are involved in sperm transport. In contrast to the adult, neither GR nor ACTA2, or elastin (ELN) were detected in the peritubular compartment before puberty in non-human primate testes. In isolated human testicular peritubular cells (HTPCs), activation of GR by dexamethasone (Dex) caused the translocation of GR to the nucleus and stimulated expression of ACTA2 and ELN, without affecting the expression of collagens. Cytoskeletal ACTA2-rearrangements were observed and were associated with an increased ability to contract. Our results indicate post-pubertal testicular roles of GC in the maintenance of the contractile, smooth muscle-like phenotype of peritubular cells.