• Cadherins;
  • extracellular matrix;
  • proteins;
  • integrins;
  • NCAM;
  • testis

PROBLEM: The presence of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) in Sertoli cells has not been explored extensively. The expression of CAMs involved in cell-matrix and cell-to-cell interactions in Sertoli cell cultures was examined.

METHOD OF STUDY: Immunohistochemical and Western blot techniques were applied to rat Sertoli cell cultures using specific antibodies to α3, α5, and α6 integrin subunits; NCAM; and Cadherins.

RESULTS: Expression of α3 and α6 integrin subunits (mainly laminin receptors) and lack of expression of α5 integrin subunit (fibronectin receptor) was observed in Sertoli cells by immunohistochemistry. These cells also expressed neural CAM (NCAM) and N-cadherin. By Western blot analysis, Sertoli cell extracts reacted with antibodies to α3 integrin subunit revealed a band approximately 130 kDa, whereas no expression of α5 integrin subunit was detected. Cell extracts incubated with antibodies to pan Cadherin exhibited a band approximately 120 kDa, whereas bands of 180, 140, and 120 kDa were observed with antibodies to NCAM.

CONCLUSION: New data about the expression of receptors for extracellular matrix proteins (α3 and α6 integrin subunits) as well as cell-to-cell adhesion molecules (NCAM and Cadherins) are reported in rat Sertoli cell cultures.