• FSH;
  • FSH receptor;
  • endocytosis;
  • Sertoli cell;
  • germ cell


Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is required for initiation and maintenance of spermatogenesis, a dynamic process of cell proliferation and maturation. By using FSH-gold particles and pulse-chase experiments, we analyzed the kinetics of FSH endocytosis in Sertoli and germ cells during development. Ultrastructural time-dependent analysis demonstrates that FSH was first located on plasma membrane, before being accumulated within the endosomal compartment, in the early endosomes, identified by morphological criteria and Rab-5 colocalization. Thereafter, FSH-gold was routed to the degradation pathway. The FSH endocytosis kinetic was similar in Sertoli cells, spermatogonia and spermatocytes. However, quantitative analysis of gold particles revealed differences in the dynamic of FSH accumulation in the endosomes between immature and mature rats. This age-dependent kinetic of FSH endocytosis, mostly detectable by ultrastructural analysis associated with quantitative data, argues for a potential new regulatory mechanism of the FSH signalling pathway that could occur during maturation of testicular cells. Developmental Dynamics 239:1113–1123, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.