Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), one of the first cytokines to be discovered, has recently been localized to the Leydig cells in adult rat testes. In the following study, the response of MIF to Leydig cell ablation by the Leydig cell-specific toxin ethane dimethane sulfonate (EDS) was examined in adult male rats. Testicular MIF mRNA and protein in testicular interstitial fluid measured by ELISA and western blot were only marginally reduced by EDS treatment, in spite of the fact that the Leydig cells were completely destroyed within 7 days. Immunohistochemistry using an affinity-purified anti-mouse MIF antibody localized MIF exclusively to the Leydig cells in control testes. At 7 days post-EDS treatment, there were no MIF immunopositive Leydig cells in the interstitium, although distinct MIF immunostaining was observed in the seminiferous tubules, principally in Sertoli cells and residual cytoplasm, and some spermatogonia. A few peritubular and perivascular cells were also labelled at this time, which possibly represented mesenchymal Leydig cell precursors. At 14 and 21 days, Sertoli cell MIF immunoreactivity was observed in only a few tubule cross-sections, while some peritubular and perivascular mesenchymal cells and the re-populating immature Leydig cells were intensely labeled. At 28 days after EDS-treatment, the MIF immunostaining pattern was identical to that of untreated and control testes. The switch in the compartmentalization of MIF protein at 7 days after EDS-treatment was confirmed by western blot analysis of interstitial tissue and seminiferous tubules separated by mechanical dissection. These data establish that Leydig cell-depleted testes continue to produce MIF, and suggest the existence of a mechanism of compensatory cytokine production involving the Sertoli cells. This represents the first demonstration of a hitherto unsuspected pattern of cellular interaction between the Leydig cells and the seminiferous tubules which is consistent with an essential role for MIF in male testicular function.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Cell Science|
|Volume||112 ( Pt 9)|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology