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Stöckl, Jan B., Schmid, Nina, Flenkenthaler, Florian, Drummer, Charis, Behr, Rüdiger, Mayerhofer, Artur, Arnold, Georg J. and Fröhlich, Thomas (2020): Proteomic Insights into Senescence of Testicular Peritubular Cells from a Nonhuman Primate Model. In: Cells, Vol. 9, No. 11, 2498

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Age-related changes in the human testis may include morphological alterations, disturbed steroidogenesis, and impaired spermatogenesis. However, the specific impact of cell age remains poorly understood and difficult to assess. Testicular peritubular cells fulfill essential functions, including sperm transport, contributions to the spermatogonial stem cell niche, and paracrine interactions within the testis. To study their role in age-associated decline of testicular functions, we performed comprehensive proteome and secretome analyses of repeatedly passaged peritubular cells from Callithrix jacchus. This nonhuman primate model better reflects the human testicular biology than rodents and further gives access to young donors unavailable from humans. Among 5095 identified proteins, 583 were differentially abundant between samples with low and high passage numbers. The alterations indicate a reduced ability of senescent peritubular cells to contract and secrete proteins, as well as disturbances in nuclear factor (NF)-kappa B signaling and a reduced capacity to handle reactive oxygen species. Since this in vitro model may not exactly mirror all molecular aspects of in vivo aging, we investigated the proteomes and secretomes of testicular peritubular cells from young and old donors. Even though the age-related alterations at the protein level were less pronounced, we found evidence for impaired protein secretion, altered NF-kappa B signaling, and reduced contractility of these in vivo aged peritubular cells.

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