Vol 42, No 1 (2004)
Original paper
Published online: 2004-03-30

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Possible involvement of microtubules and microfilaments of the epididymal epithelial cells in 17beta-estradiol synthesis.

Mariola Marchlewicz, Barbara Wiszniewska, Rafał Kurzawa, Lidia Wenda-Rózewicka
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2004;42(1):19-27.


The rat epididymal epithelial cells revealed features of steroidogenic cells and released 17beta-estradiol (E2) into the culture medium. In steroidogenic cells, elements of the cytoskeleton due to their influence on organelle distribution are implicated in the regulation of steroidogenesis. In the present study, the morphology of cultured epididymal epithelial cells in light, scanning and transmission electron microscopes was evaluated. The organization of microtubules and microfilaments revealed by fluorescence microscopy, and the concentration of E2 in cultured medium were also studied. The epididymal epithelial cells were cultured in different conditions: in the medium with or without exogenous testosterone (T) and in the co-culture with Leydig cells as a source of androgens. The cells in co-culture located close to Leydig cells were rich in glycogen, PAS-positive substances and lipid droplets, in higher amount than the cells cultured with addition of exogenous testosterone. Stress fibers and microtubules of epididymal epithelial cells cultured with exogenous T and in co-culture with Leydig cells presented typical structure, and numerous granular protrusions appeared on the surface of the cells. Disorganization of microtubules and shortening of stress fibers as well as the smooth cell surface deprived of granular protrusions were observed in the epididymal epithelial cells cultured without T. Change of the cytoskeleton organization caused by the absence of androgen in culture medium resulted in an increased E2 secretion.

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