Histological and sex steroid hormone receptor changes in testes of immature, mature, and aged chickens.

Domestic animal endocrinology

PubMedID: 18815005

González-Morán MG, Guerra-Araiza C, Campos MG, Camacho-Arroyo I. Histological and sex steroid hormone receptor changes in testes of immature, mature, and aged chickens. Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2008;35(4):371-9.
Sex steroid hormone receptors play a central role in the regulation of reproduction in male chickens. In this work, we evaluated by histomorphometric methods and Western blot analysis changes in the number of the different cell populations and in the content of sex steroid hormone receptors in testes from immature (1.5-month-old), mature (12-month-old), and aged (48-month-old) chickens. The number of Sertoli cells, germ cells, and Leydig cells per area of testicular tissue markedly changed according to chicken age. The highest number of Sertoli and Leydig cells was found in testes of immature chickens, with a dramatic decrease in those of mature chickens; however, the number of germ cells was the highest in mature chickens in comparison with other ages. The content of androgen receptor diminished in testes of mature and aged animals in comparison with that of immature chickens. In contrast, the content of estrogen receptor alpha and progesterone receptor was higher in testes of mature animals than in other ages. Both progesterone receptor isoforms were expressed in a similar proportion in testes of immature and mature animals. Interestingly, progesterone receptor isoform A was the predominant isoform in aged animals. These results suggest that there are marked age-dependent changes in chicken testes histology and in sex steroid hormone receptors content that should contribute to sex steroid hormone actions, in this tissue throughout the lifespan of chickens.