The sequence of biochemical events associated with the action of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the testis has been investigated using a Sertoli cell-enriched testis model system. The Sertoli cell-enriched testis, created by irradiation of male rats in utero, is devoid of germinal elements but contains a normal complement of supportive Sertoli cells. Comparison of the Sertoli cell-enriched testis with normal testis, demonstrates that the two types of testes contain equal numbers of FSH specific receptors, judged by the binding of labeled hormone. In addition, FSH over a concentration range from 6 × 10-11 to 6 Ã-10-9M will stimulate the production of adenosine 3', 5'monophosphate (cAMP) in the Sertoli cell-enriched testis in a manner indistinguishable from that of the normal testis. Incubation of Sertoli cell-enriched testis also results in the activation of soluble cAMPdependent protein kinase. This response to FSH is dependent upon the age of the animal and disappears at about 32 days of age. While sensitivity to the hormone can still be detected in mature Sertoli cell-enriched animals by the addition of the phosphodiesterase inhibitor l-methyl-3-isobutylxanthine, no detectable increase in phosphodiesterase activity is apparent after 30 days of age. Injection of FSH into Sertoli cell-enriched animals results in an increase in total testicular protein synthesis as well as in the production of the Sertoli cell-specific protein, androgen-binding protein within 30 minutes. Furthermore, while hypophysectomy of Sertoli cell-enriched animals results in a decline of the testicular concentration of androgenbinding protein, the injection of FSH will stimulate and maintain the levels of androgen-binding protein in such animals. These results demonstrate that the Sertoli cell-enriched testis is capable of carrying out the sequence of biochemical events previously described for FSH in the normal testis and therefore, suggest that the Sertoli cell is the primary target cell for FSH action.
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