Oertzenweg 19 b
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Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is a seasonal breeder showing extreme changes in spermatogenic activity. It is an excellent model to study the regulation of testicular activation and regression by endocrine signals and paracrine effectors such as growth factors. Previous studies on FGF-1 mRNA showed a special seasonal expression pattern in roe deer testis. This was difficult to explain by their exclusive localization in interstitial and Sertoli cells and without detection of the translation product. Therefore, the cellular localization of the FGF-1 protein was studied during a complete annual cycle. Parenchyma samples were collected bimonthly and prepared for histological and immunohistochemical investigations. A polyclonal rabbit anti-bovine FGF-1 antibody was used for indirect immunohistochemistry. Seasonal changes in the cellular composition of roe deer testis parenchyma were quantified by morphometry and means of computer aided image analysis. In the tubular compartment FGF-1 protein was exclusively (and stage-specific) present in elongating spermatids. This cell type occurs shortly before (June) and during the rutting season (August) only. In interstitial cells FGF-1 is detectable throughout the whole year. Results suggest FGF-1 being involved in Sertoli cell-spermatid communication and could also serve as a survival factor for somatic cell populations within the testis. The occurrence of the protein indicates an increased expression of this factor during activated spermatogenesis.