Morphological evidences indicate that the interference of cimetidine on the peritubular components is responsible for detachment and apoptosis of Sertoli cells

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Cerri, Estela Sasso [UNESP]
Cerri, Paulo Sérgio [UNESP]

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Biomed Central Ltd.


Cimetidine, referred as antiandrogenic agent, has caused alterations in the seminiferous tubules, including alterations in the peritubular tissue and death of myoid cells by apoptosis. Regarding the structural and functional importance of the peritubular tissue for the maintenance of Sertoli cells (SC), we purpose to investigate the SC-basement membrane interface, focusing the morphological features of SC and their interaction with the basement membrane in the affected tubules by cimetidine. Ten animals were distributed into two groups, control (CG) and cimetidine (CmG) which received saline solution and 50 mg of cimetidine per kg of body weight, respectively, for 52 days. The testes were fixed, dehydrated and embedded for analyses under light and transmission electron microscopy. Paraffin sections were submitted to the TUNEL method; sections of testes embedded in glycol methacrylate were submitted to PAS method and stained by H&E for morphological and quantitative analyses of Sertoli Cells. In the CmG, the SC nuclei were positive to the TUNEL method and showed typical morphological alterations of cell death by apoptosis (from early to advanced stages). A significant reduction in the number of Sertoli Cells was probably due to death of these cells by apoptosis. A close relationship between SC nuclear alterations (including a high frequency of dislocated nuclei from the basal portion) and damage in the peritubular tissue was observed. The ultrastructural analysis showed a parallelism between the gradual advancement of apoptotic process in SC and detachment of the anchoring sites (hemidesmosomes) of SC plasma membrane from the lamina densa. The presence of portions of lamina densa underlying the detached hemidesmosomes indicates a continuous deposition of lamina densa, resulting in the thickening of the basal lamina. The results indicate a possible disarrangement of the SC cytoskeleton, including the focal adhesion structure. These alterations are related to SC apoptosis and probably result from disturbs induced by cimetidine on the peritubular tissue.



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Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. London: Biomed Central Ltd., v. 6, p. 10, 2008.