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Phospholipase Cγ2 Is Required for Luminal Expansion of the Epididymal Duct during Postnatal Development in Mice.

PMID 26950550


Phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2)-deficient mice exhibit misconnections of blood and lymphatic vessels, and male infertility. However, the cell type responsible for vascular partitioning and the mechanism for male infertility remain unknown. Accordingly, we generated a mouse line that conditionally expresses endogenous Plcg2 in a Cre/loxP recombination-dependent manner, and found that Tie2-Cre- or Pf4-Cre-driven reactivation of Plcg2 rescues PLCγ2-deficient mice from the vascular phenotype. By contrast, male mice rescued from the vascular phenotype exhibited epididymal sperm granulomas. As judged from immunostaining, PLCγ2 was expressed in clear cells in the epididymis. PLCγ2 deficiency did not compromise differentiation of epididymal epithelial cells, including clear cells, and tube formation at postnatal week 2. However, luminal expansion of the epididymal duct was impaired during the prepubertal period, regardless of epithelial cell polarity and tube architecture. These results suggest that PLCγ2-deficient clear cells cause impaired luminal expansion, stenosis of the epididymal duct, attenuation of luminal flow, and subsequent sperm granulomas. Clear cell-mediated luminal expansion is also supported by the observation that PLCγ2-deficient males were rescued from infertility by epididymal epithelium-specific reactivation of Plcg2, although the edematous and hemorrhagic phenotype associated with PLCγ2 deficiency also caused spontaneous epididymal sperm granulomas in aging males. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that PLCγ2 in clear cells plays an essential role in luminal expansion of the epididymis during the prepubertal period in mice, and reveal an unexpected link between PLCγ2, clear cells, and epididymal development.

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