The site of aromatization in the mouse cryptorchid testis
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Using the mouse cryptorchid model, degenerations of germ cells were observed as well as a reduced size of seminiferous tubules, while the area of the interstitial tissue increased. Aromatase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens into oestrogens, was immunolocalized in Leydig cells and in germ cells from both scrotal and abdominal testes, and in Sertoli cells only in a control testis. In the cryptorchid testis, aromatase was strongly expressed in a few tubules, including those spermatids that were still present. Other cells inside the tubules were negative for aromatase. In both testes, oestrogen receptors a were expressed only in Leydig cells. Strong aromatase expression in germ cells indicates an additional source of oestrogens in the testis besides the interstitial tissue.
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B. Bilinska, Laboratory of Animal Endocrinology & Tissue Culture, Department of Animal Physiology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, R. Ingardena 6, 30-060 Krakow, Poland