Reducing estrogen synthesis in developing boars increases testis size and total sperm production.J Androl. 2006 Jul-Aug; 27(4):552-9.JA
The abundant production of testicular estrogens and the presence of both ESR1 and ESR2 within boar testes are consistent with a role for estrogen in testicular development and/or function in this species. This study was aimed at determining the role of endogenous estrogen in the regulation of testicular development and function, including the effects on testis weight, histology, sperm production (detergent-resistant spermatid numbers), Sertoli cell numbers, and Leydig cell volume in the boar. Twenty-eight littermate pairs of boars were assigned to groups as follows: 1 boar from each pair was assigned to the control group (vehicle) and the other was assigned to treatment and received 0.1 mg/kg body weight of an aromatase enzyme inhibitor (letrozole) orally each week beginning at 1 week of age until castration at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 months of age. Testes were weighed and testicular parenchyma was recovered for determination of histology and detergent-resistant spermatid numbers, and for determination of Sertoli cell number and Leydig cell volume by staining for GATA-4 and 17-alpha hydroxylase/17-20 lyase respectively. Testes of aromatase-inhibited boars initially exhibited delayed lumen formation, lower testicular weight, fewer detergent-resistant spermatids, and fewer Sertoli cells, but by 7 to 8 months, these boars had recovered and had larger testes, more detergent-resistant spermatids per testis, and more Sertoli cells. Total Leydig cell volume increased in proportion to testis size. Reducing endogenous estrogen is consistent with a delay in testicular maturation/puberty that allows for a longer window for the proliferation of Sertoli cells and maturation of Leydig cells, resulting in larger testes and higher spermatid production.