Cell-cell interactions and the regulation of testis function.
Regulatory interactions have been shown to occur between all the testicular cell types considered. The paracrine factors mediating these interactions generally influence either cellular growth or differentiation. The regulation of cellular growth is essential in the developing testis and is required for the maintenance of spermatogenesis in the adult testis. The rapid rate of germinal cell proliferation and the continuous but slowed growth of the peritubular cells and Leydig cells requires the presence of specific growth factors in the adult. Therefore, cell-cell interactions have evolved that involve growth factors such as IGF, TGF-alpha, TGF-beta and NGF. Other growth factors such as FGF or less characterized components like the seminiferous growth factor (SGF) also may be involved in the paracrine regulation of testis cell growth. An alternate cellular parameter to cell growth to consider is the regulation of cellular function and differentiation. A number of endocrine agents and locally produced paracrine factors have been shown to control and maintain testis cell function and differentiation. Cell-cell interactions mediated by factors such as androgens, POMC peptides, and PModS are all primarily directed at the regulation of cellular differentiation. Therefore, the agents which mediate cell-cell interactions in the testis can generally be categorized into factors that regulate cell growth or those which influence cellular differentiation. The specific cell-cell interactions identified will likely be the first of a large number of cellular interactions yet to be investigated. Although a number of potentially important cell-cell interactions have been identified, future research will require the elucidation of the in vivo physiological significance of these interactions. The existence of different cell types and potential cell-cell interactions in a tissue implies that the actions of an endocrine agent on a tissue will not simply involve a single hormone and single cell. The endocrine regulation of testis function will have effects on cell-cell interactions and be affected by local cell-cell interactions. The ability of LH to influence Leydig cell androgen production promotes a cascade of interactions mediated through several cell types to maintain the process of spermatogenesis. FSH actions on Sertoli cells also promote cell-cell interactions that influence germinal cell development, peritubular myoid cell differentiation and Leydig cell function. Therefore, elucidation of the endocrine regulation of testis function requires an understanding of the local cell-cell interactions in the testis.
Skinner, MK; Norton, JN; Mullaney, BP; Rosselli, M; Whaley, PD; Anthony, CT
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