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Nerve Growth Factor mRNA and Protein in the Testis and Epididymis of Mouse and Rat

Christiane Ayer-LeLievre, Lars Olson, Ted Ebendal, Finn Hallböök and Håkan Persson
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 85, No. 8 (Apr. 15, 1988), pp. 2628-2632
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/31488
Page Count: 5
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Nerve Growth Factor mRNA and Protein in the Testis and Epididymis of Mouse and Rat
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Abstract

In situ hybridization using β -nerve growth factor (NGF) DNA probes was used to demonstrate NGF mRNA in spermatocytes and early spermatids of adult mouse. NGF mRNA-containing cells were also identified in the epithelium of convoluted ducts in mouse corpus epididymidis. Blot-hybridization analysis of RNA prepared from mouse testis and epididymis as well as from rat epididymis confirmed the presence of a 1.3-kilobase (kb) NGF mRNA in these tissues. In the rat testis, however, only a 1.5-kb NGF mRNA was found, corresponding in size to a minor NGF mRNA detected in the rat brain, heart, and epididymis. By using affinity-purified anti-NGF antibodies, NGF-like immunoreactivity was observed in germ cells of rat and mouse testis and in the lumen of epididymis. Extracts of both mouse epididymis and testis stimulated fiber outgrowth in cultured sympathetic ganglia, and the effect was blocked by antibodies to mouse NGF. A two-site enzyme immunoassay showed the presence of 10 and 70 ng of NGF per g of tissue in the mouse testis and epididymis, respectively. Furthermore, RNA blot analysis showed the presence of mRNA for the NGF receptor in mouse testis. These results suggest a nonneurotrophic role for NGF in the male reproductive system, possibly in survival maturation and/or motility of spermatozoa.

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