Age-related changes in immunoreactive inhibin (ir-inhibin) levels and the relationship among ir-inhibin, gonadotropins and testosterone were examined in 53 Holstein bull calves from neonates to 8.6 months old. Serum levels of ir-inhibin, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone, as well as ir-inhibin levels in testicular extracts, and testicular sizes were measured. All hormones were measured by specific radioimmunoassays. The concentrations of ir-inhibin in serum and testicular tissue were high in neonatal calves and tended to decrease with age. In contrast, serum concentrations of gonadotropins did not show any age-related changes within the experimental period. Serum testosterone levels and testicular sizes (length, width and weight) were positively correlated with age. Furthermore, a positive immunostaining to antiserum for the inhibin α-subunit was immunocytochemically observed only in Sertoli cells of the seminiferous tubules from neonates to calves less than 6 months old. These results indicate that the immature bovine testis produces and secretes high levels of ir-inhibin and that the Sertoli cells are a major source of ir-inhibin in prepubertal bull calves.
- Sertoli cell
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