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Foetal Leydig Cells and the Neuroendocrine System
Puni tekst: pdf (268 KB),
Str. 149 - 153
It has been shown that adult human Leydig cells express a number of neuroendocrine markers, and, therefore, could
be considered as a part of the neuroendocrine system in the adult. A limited number of studies have dealt with the dynamics
of development of human foetal Leydig cells, whereas studies on their neuroendocrine nature are still extremely
rare. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate the development of human foetal Leydig cells in different weeks of
gestation (wg) and to check if these cells express certain markers characteristic of the diffuse neuroendocrine system
(DNS). Qualitative, quantitative histological studies and immunohistochemical analyses of human foetal testicular tissue
have been performed. According to our data, Leydig cells formed a dynamic population of cells within the interstitum
of testes in the period between 15 and 36 wg. The total number of Leydig cells of human foetal testes changed through different
stages of gestation by means of 'pulsatile' dynamics (most likely, by following the variable level of gonadotropins).
At early stages of development (15–17 wg) immunohistochemical reactions for the expression of neuron specific enolase
(NSE) were positive within sex cords and between them, in the interstitum. Pro-spermatogonia in the sex cords were positive,
as well as elongated spindle-shaped cells of the interstitum (very likely, precursors of Leydig cells). During the later
stages of development (28–36 wg), excluding the pro-spermatogonia, the interstitial Leydig cells were also positive. The
results of the immunohistochemical analyses (the expression of NSE) confirmed the hypothesis that human foetal Leydig
cells were of neuroendocrine nature.
Leydig cells; human; foetus; development; neuroendocrine system
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