Cathepsin A Is Expressed in a Cell- and Region-specific Manner in the Testis and Epididymis and Is Not Regulated by Testicular or Pituitary Factors
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The epithelial cells of the testis are involved in the production, differentiation, and sustenance of sperm, and those of the epididymis play a major role in sperm maturation, protection, and storage. These tissues express various proteins that respond differently to androgens. Cathepsin A is a multifunctional lysosomal carboxypeptidase that also functions as a protective and an activator protein for neuraminidase and beta-galactosidase. In this study, cathepsin A was immunolocalized by light and electron microscopy using a polyclonal affinity-purified antibody on the testis and epididymis of normal, orchidectomized with or without testosterone supplementation, efferent duct-ligated, and hypophysectomized adult rats. In normal rats, cathepsin A expression was noted in lysosomes of Sertoli and Leydig cells but not in germ cells of the testis, as well as nonciliated cells of the efferent ducts. In the epididymis, a cell- and region-specific distribution of cathepsin A was noted. In experimentally treated animals, no changes were noted in the expression of cathepsin A. Immunolabeling of tissues examined at the electron microscopic level revealed that lysosomes were reactive. These data indicate cell- and region-specific expression of cathepsin A in cells of the testis and epididymis and also indicate that cathepsin A expression is not regulated by testicular or pituitary factors.
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