Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Insights into canine infertility : apoptosis in chronic asymptomatic orchitis

Chronic asymptomatic orchitis (CAO) is a common cause of acquired non-obstructive azoospermia in dogs. To understand the impact and mode of action of apoptosis, we investigated TUNEL, Bax, Bcl-2, Fas/Fas ligand, and caspase 3/8/9 in testicular biopsies of CAO-affected dogs and compared the results to undisturbed spermatogenesis in healthy males (CG). TUNEL+ cells were significantly increased in CAO, correlating with the disturbance of spermatogenesis. Bcl-2, Bax (p < 0.01 each), caspase 9 (p < 0.05), Fas, caspase 8 (p < 0.01 each), and caspase 3 (p < 0.05) were significantly increased at the mRNA level, whereas FasL expression was downregulated. Cleaved caspase 3 staining was sporadic in CAO but not in CG. Sertoli cells, some peritubular (CAO/CG) and interstitial immune cells (CAO) stained Bcl-2+, with significantly more immunopositive cells in both compartments in CAO compared to CG. Bcl-2 and CD20 co-expressing B lymphocytes were encountered interstitially and in CAO occasionally also found intratubally, underlining their contribution to the maintenance of CAO. Our results support the crucial role of the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways in the pathophysiology of canine CAO. Autoprotective Bcl-2 expression in Sertoli cells and B lymphocytes seems to be functional, however, thereby also maintaining and promoting the disease by immune cell activation.

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