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Free Content The role of angiotensin-(1–7) receptor Mas in spermatogenesis in mice and rats

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Evidence regarding the components of the renin–angiotensin (Ang) system suggests that this system plays an important role in male reproduction. However, there are few data available in the literature on the effects of Ang-(1–7) on the male reproductive system. The present study investigated the effects of the genetic deletion and chronic blockage of Ang-(1–7) receptor Mas on spermatogenesis and male fertility. The localization of Mas in mouse and rat testes was determined by binding assays and immunofluorescence, whereas the testis structure and spermatogenic process were morphologically and stereologically analysed by light microscopy. Ang-(1–7) binding and immunofluorescence revealed the presence of Mas in the testes of mice and rats. Although the total numbers of Sertoli and Leydig cells per testis and Leydig cell size were similar in both wild-type and Mas-deficient mice, Mas−/– animals exhibited a significant reduction in testis weight and a greater volume of apoptotic cells, giant cells and vacuoles in the seminiferous epithelium. In both mice and rats, an increased number of apoptotic cells were found during meiosis. Due to disturbed spermatogenesis, daily sperm production was markedly reduced in Mas−/– mice. Moreover, chronic infusion of A-779 [an Ang-(1–7) antagonist] in rats significantly increased the total number of apoptotic cells and primary spermatocytes in particular stages of spermatogenesis. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that Ang-(1–7) receptor Mas plays an important role in the regulation of spermatogenesis.
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Keywords: A-779; angiotensin II; angiotensin-(1–7); apoptosis; renin–angiotensin system; spermatogenesis; stereology; testis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Morphology 2: Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biological Sciences 3: Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin-Buch, Germany

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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