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Molecular reproduction and development

Bcl-2 inhibits apoptosis of spermatogonia and growth of spermatogonial stem cells in a cell-intrinsic manner.


PMID 11144217

Abstract

The growth, differentiation, and death/survival of spermatogonia are precisely regulated for the proper production of spermatozoa. We have previously shown that Bcl-2 ectopically expressed in spermatogonia caused the inhibition of normal spermatogonial apoptosis and the subsequent failure of differentiation in transgenic mice. In addition, the growth of spermatogonial stem cells seemed to be temporally arrested in the transgenic mice. In the present study, we attempted to examine whether the abnormality of spermatogonia described above was caused by Bcl-2 misexpression in the spermatogonia or by an abnormal spermatogenic environment of the transgenic mice. We transplanted testicular cells of transgenic mice to seminiferous tubules of W/Wv mice in which transplanted normal testicular cells can undergo spermatogenesis. We found that the transplanted spermatogonia of the transgenic mice reproduced a series of abnormal changes including temporal growth arrest of spermatogonial stem cells and abnormal accumulation of spermatogonia in tubules, which were also observed in the testes of the transgenic mice. The results indicated that Bcl-2 inhibited apoptosis of spermatogonia and growth of spermatogonial stem cells in a cell-intrinsic manner. We also cultured testicular cells of transgenic mice and found that the spermatogonia of the transgenic mice were better able to survive than were those of wild-type mice but that their differentiation was not affected. The result suggested that failure of differentiation of the accumulated spermatogonia in the transgenic testes is not due to the abnormality of the bcl-2 misexpressing spermatogonia, but may be caused by extrinsic problems including improper interaction of spermatogonia with supporting cells.