Problem: There is a growing body of evidence that interleukins exhibit modulatory activity on development of reproductive cells. In this context, there appears to be a role for IL-1, which is also produced in human testis. We have analysed transcripts of IL-1 gene system (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-1RI, IL-1RII and IL-1RA) to evaluate the possible link between the level of gene(s) transcription and their function.
Method of study: To determine the activity of gene transcription, a quantitative PCR with isotopic and/or nonisotopic detection was applied.
Results and Conclusions: We have detected differential expression of IL-1α and IL-1β genes in separate functional compartments of a male gonad. A strong expression of IL-1α gene in an intratubular cell fraction was shown, while the IL-1β expression seemed to be dominant in extratubular compartment of the male gonad. Abundant amounts of IL-1RA mRNA in gametogenic cells fraction slightly higher than in interstitium have also been found. IL-1RA is the most important regulatory molecule in IL-1 system, which down-regulates activity of both interleukins. Looking more closely at gene(s) differential expression it appears that IL-1α can be preferentially down-regulated by IL-1RA gene in intratubular fraction while the IL-1β, through the ‘‘false’’ IL-1RII receptor in the interstitium. Genes coding for both receptors (IL-1RI and IL-1RII) showed, however, relatively low levels of transcription in both studied compartments. IL-1 genes system creates a complex intragonadal environment and the function of these genes is reflected by their respective distribution in the two main functional compartments of the testis.