Claudin 11 and connexin 43 display altered spatial patterns of organization in men with primary seminiferous tubule failure compared with controls

Capsule:
Claudin-11 and connexin-43 protein organization is impaired in men with primary seminiferous tubule failure compared with controls, suggesting that disorganization of the Sertoli cell junctions is involved in spermatogenic failure.

Authors:
Jenna Trish Haverfield, B.Sc. Hons., Sarah Jayne Meachem, Ph.D., Moira Kathleen O’Bryan, Ph.D., Robert Ian McLachlan, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., Peter Gordon Stanton, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 3, Pages 658-666.e3, September 2013

Abstract:

Objective:
To assess the spatial organization of two proteins involved in the Sertoli cell junctional complex in men with primary seminiferous tubule failure.

Design:
Retrospective study.

Setting:
Medical research institute.

Patient(s):
Sixteen men total, six with meiotic arrest, seven with the Sertoli cell-only phenotype, and three with normal spermatogenesis.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Differences in claudin-11 and connexin-43 organization as detected using confocal microscopy.

Result(s):
In men with primary seminiferous tubule failure, four organizational patterns (I–IV) were recognized and quantified for claudin-11. Across these patterns, claudin-11 changed from a basal filamentous staining pattern to a punctate staining pattern with diffuse localization throughout the entire epithelium. Similar changes in staining patterns for connexin-43 were observed. Major differences were seen in the spatial organization of claudin-11 and connexin-43 in tubules from control men compared with tubules with primary seminiferous tubule failure, but we observed no differences in the spatial organization of these proteins in tubules from men with meiotic arrest and Sertoli cell-only phenotypes.

Conclusion(s):
The spatial organization of claudin-11 and connexin-43 is altered in men with primary seminiferous tubule failure. Disorganization of the proteins composing the Sertoli cell junctional complex may be involved in the spermatogenic impairment, possibly via loss of blood-testis barrier function.

  • Carlos Balmori

    This paper shows us an interesting approach but, have you considered the possibility that the changes in the spatial organization of Sertoli cells juntional proteins is due to the absence or reduction of germ cells and it is not the origin of this changes?

    • Jenna Haverfield

      Hi Carlos, thanks for your comment. It is indeed a possibility, however as we observed no significant difference in the spatial organisation of these proteins in tissues with germ cells up to meiosis (MA) compared with tissues with no germ cells (SCO), we don’t believe changes in germ cell populations are driving the junctional impairment. Based on these data, we believe it is a Sertoli cell-directed event, at least in these tissues.

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