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Keywords:

  • Sertoli cell;
  • testis;
  • TGF-βs;
  • tight junction dynamics

Summary

Transforming growth factor-βs (TGF-βs) are known to regulate multiple physiological functions in the testis, which include spermatogenesis, Leydig cell steroidogenesis, extracellular matrix synthesis and testis development. More recent studies have shown that TGF-β3 also regulates Sertoli cell tight junction (TJ) dynamics in vitro via the p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway, suggesting that this cytokine plays a crucial role in regulating the opening and closing of the blood–testis barrier (BTB). This in turn regulates the passage of pre-leptotene and leptotene spermatocytes across the BTB at stages VIII-XI of the seminiferous epithelial cycle. This review summarizes recent advances of studies on TGF-βs in the testis, highlighting their regulatory role in TJ dynamics.