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The actin filament network associated to Sertoli cell ectoplasmic specializations


1. Instituto de Histología y Embriología “Dr. Mario H. Burgos” (IHEM-CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina.
2. Institute for Clinical Cytobiology and Cytopathology, Faculty of Medicine, Phillips-Universität Marburg, Germany.
3. Instituto de Investigaciones Cardiológicas “Prof. Dr. Alberto C Taquini” (ININCA), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

* Address correspondence to: Juan Carlos CAVICCHIA. Instituto de Histología y Embriología (IHEM), Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, UNCuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. E-mail: email.

BIOCELL 2011, 35(3), 81-90.


Junctional devices in Sertoli cells conform the blood-testis barrier and play a key role in maturation and differentiation of germ cells. The spacial distribution of ectoplasmic specializations of Sertoli cells was studied by β-actin immunolabelling, using laser confocal and transmission electron microscopy. For confocal microscopy, β-actin immunolabelling of ectoplasmic specializations was studied over the background of either prosaposin or glutaredoxin immunolabelling of the Sertoli cytoplasm. Labelling was found near the basal lamina, surrounding early spermatocytes (presumably in leptotene-zygotene) or at one of two levels in the seminiferous epithelium: (1) around deep infoldings of the Sertoli cell cytoplasm, in tubular stages before spermiation, and (2) in the superficial part of the seminiferous epithelium, in tubular stages after or during spermiation. For transmission electron microscopy, β-actin immunolabelling of ectoplasmic specializations was also used. Ectoplasmic specializations were found at two different levels of the seminiferous epithelium. We also used freeze fracture to analyze the characteristics of tubulo-bulbar complexes, a known component of apical ectoplasmic specializations. Also, these different approaches allowed us to study the complex arrangement of the actin cytoskeleton of Sertoli cells branches, which surround germ cells in different stages of the spermatogenic cycle. Our results show a consistent labelling for β-actin before, during and after the release of spermatozoa in the tubular lumen (spermiation) suggesting a significant role of the actin network in spermatic cell differentiation. In conclusion, significant interrelations among the β-actin network, the junctional complexes of the blood-testis barrier and the ectoplasmic specializations were detected at different stages of the seminiferous cycle.


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APA Style
CAVICCHIA, J.C., , M.F., IBAÑEZ, J., LILLIG, C., CAPANI, F. (2011). The actin filament network associated to sertoli cell ectoplasmic specializations. BIOCELL, 35(3), 81-90.
Vancouver Style
CAVICCHIA JC, MF, IBAÑEZ J, LILLIG C, CAPANI F. The actin filament network associated to sertoli cell ectoplasmic specializations. BIOCELL . 2011;35(3):81-90
IEEE Style
J.C. CAVICCHIA, M.F. , J. IBAÑEZ, C. LILLIG, and F. CAPANI "The actin filament network associated to Sertoli cell ectoplasmic specializations," BIOCELL , vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 81-90. 2011.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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