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Identification of a Specific Sertoli Cell Marker, Sox9, for Use in Transplantation

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The immunoprivileged environment of the testes was first described in the 1930s, and the Sertoli cell was later identified as the main cell type responsible for this phenomenon. Recent work has examined the possibility of recreating this immunoprivileged environment at heterotopic sites using isolated Sertoli cells. These studies have focused on protection of pancreatic islets and neuronal cells from immune destruction in the hopes of reversing type I diabetes and Parkinson's disease. The absence of a definitive marker for identifying Sertoli cells at the transplant site has been an obstacle to this research. The current study examines the presence of a nuclear transcription factor, Sox9, which is preferentially expressed in Sertoli cells. Syngeneic Lewis rat Sertoli cells were transplanted into the renal subcapsular space and a subcutaneous site in Lewis female rats and examined histologically 21 days later. In addition, porcine Sertoli cells were transplanted into the renal subcapsular space in female SCID mice. Control testes and the transplant sites were examined immunohistochemically using an antibody to Sox9. The results from the study demonstrate that Sox9 expression is restricted to the Sertoli cells of the neonatal rat and porcine testis, indicating high homology between species. In addition, Sox9 expression was also observed in the testicular-like tubules that formed in both syngeneic and xenogeneic heterotopic transplants in rats and SCID mice. The Sox9 expression was restricted to the regions where Sertoli cells would be found in the native testis. These results suggest that the Sox9 protein is a useful marker in identifying Sertoli cells in heterotopic transplants in a manner similar to insulin as a marker for pancreatic islets.

Keywords: Key words: Sertoli cells; Sox9; Cell transplantation; Diabetes; Parkinson's disease

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/000000002783985567

Affiliations: 1: *Department of General Surgery and The Transplant Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC 28232 2: †Prince Henry's Institute, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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