Reduced endogenous estrogen delays epididymal development but has no effect on efferent duct morphology in boars.Reproduction. 2007 Oct; 134(4):593-604.R
The study presented herein was designed to test the hypothesis that reduced endogenous estrogen in the boar alters efferent duct morphology, epididymal morphology, and steroid receptor expression. Twenty-eight littermate pairs of boars were treated with Letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, or with vehicle from 1 week of age until castration at 2 through 8 months. Efferent ducts and epididymides were examined for morphological development and steroid receptor expression. Efferent duct morphology was not different between control and Letrozole-treated animals at any examined age. Androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), and beta (ERbeta) were expressed in the epithelial cells of the efferent ducts at all ages; expression was similar in control and treated animals. Morphological development of the caput and corpus was delayed in Letrozole-treated animals, but this delay was transient since morphology was similar between control and treated animals at 8 months. The cauda did not show a delay in development, but was more developed in treated animals at 2 months. AR, ERalpha, and ERbeta were expressed in all three epididymal regions; no difference was observed between control and treated animals. In summary, estrogen appears to be important for development of the epididymis; however, the cauda may be regulated differently than the caput and corpus. Results for the efferent ducts suggest that the normally high endogenous estrogens are not required for regulation of fluid reabsorption in the boar. It also suggests that any ER activation required for maintenance of efferent duct morphology and function is normal in Letrozole-treated boars.