Distribution of estrogen receptors (ERalpha and ERbeta) and androgen receptor in the testis of big fruit-eating bat Artibeus lituratus is cell- and stage-specific and increases during gonadal regression.Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009 Apr; 161(2):283-92.GC
The testis is a classical target for androgens, especially testosterone, acting via androgen receptor (AR). Alternatively, androgens can be aromatized to produce estrogens which act via specific receptors ERalpha and ERbeta. Although estrogen action is essential for maintenance of male fertility, studies regarding the expression of ERalpha and ERbeta in testis are restricted to a few species of rodent and domestic animals, but rarely in wild species. To our knowledge, there are no studies in Chiroptera species. Chiroptera represent one of the largest and most diversified orders of mammals, which possess several interesting reproductive features, including higher affinity of SHBG for estrogens than androgens. Therefore, we thought that bats would constitute a good model for investigation of the role of estrogens in the male. In this study, the distribution of ERalpha, ERbeta and AR were evaluated in the testis of the big fruit-eating bat Artibeus lituratus and their levels were compared during reproductive and regressive periods. The results showed that ERalpha and AR were restricted to the somatic cells of the testis, whereas ERbeta was widely distributed in both somatic and spermatogenic cells in a cellular and stage-specific fashion. We demonstrated for the first time by immunohistochemistry, and confirmed by Western blotting, that ERbeta and AR increased during regression. The localization of ERalpha, ERbeta and AR in a seasonal, cell and stage-specific fashion in the testis of A. lituratus suggests that these receptors may play important roles in testis function during reproductive and non-reproductive periods.