PloS one

Abnormal Accumulation of Collagen Type I Due to the Loss of Discoidin Domain Receptor 2 (Ddr2) Promotes Testicular Interstitial Dysfunction.

PMID 26158267


Loss of functional allele for discoidin domain receptor 2 (Ddr2) results in impaired Leydig cell response to luteinizing hormone (LH), low testosterone production and arrested spermatogenesis in older male Ddr2slie/slie mice. However, the underlying mechanism responsible for this phenotype remains unknown. Herein, we reported for the first time that the deregulated expression of Ddr2 cognate ligand, namely collagen type I (COL1), may account for the disruption of the testicular steroidogenesis in Ddr2slie/slie mutant testes. Expression of Ddr2 increased gradually along postnatal development, whereas COL1 expression became negligible from adulthood onwards. In Ddr2slie/slie mutant testis, however, in contrast to the undetectable staining of Ddr2, COL1 expression was constantly detected, with the highest values detected during adulthood. In the experimental vasectomy model, Ddr2slie/slie mutant mice exhibited an early androgen deficiency than wild-type mice, along with the accumulation of fibrotic tissue in the interstitium. Functionally, ablation of endogenous Ddr2 resulted in a significant decrease of testosterone (T) level in TM3 cells in the presence of higher concentration of COL1 treatment. Conversely, overexpression of Ddr2 could help TM3 cells to maintain a normal testicular steroidogenesis even in the presence of high concentration of COL1. Additionally, attenuated expression of Ddr2 correlates to the deregulated level of serum T levels in human pathological testes. Abnormal accumulation of interstitial COL1 may be responsible for the steroidogenic dysfunction in Ddr2slie/slie mutant testes.