The expression of activin type II and IIB receptors and inhibin alpha-, beta A-, and beta B-subunit messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and the secretion of immunoreactive and bioactive activin during culture of testicular peritubular myoid cells and peritubular myoid cell lines were studied. Cultured peritubular myoid cells and cell lines expressed high levels of inhibin beta A-subunit mRNA and some inhibin alpha- and beta B-subunit mRNA. Activin receptor type II mRNA was also detected, whereas activin receptor type IIB mRNA expression was not found. Expression of the beta A-subunit mRNA was present immediately after isolation of the cells and increased during culture in Eagle's Minimum Essential Medium containing 10% fetal calf serum. beta A-Subunit mRNA expression was not regulated by the synthetic androgen R1881. Western blotting of peritubular myoid cell- and peritubular cell line-conditioned media with a polyclonal antiserum against recombinant activin-A revealed the presence of 25-kilodalton activin-A, whereas activin bioactivity was detected using the animal cap assay. Because of the secretion of activin-A by peritubular myoid cells, the effects of recombinant activin-A on Sertoli cell inhibin and transferrin secretion were examined. Activin-A stimulated both basal and FSH-stimulated inhibin and transferrin production by Sertoli cells after 72 h of culture. These effects resemble the effects of the testicular paracrine factor PmodS on Sertoli cell function. It is concluded that activin-A is secreted by peritubular cells in vitro and that activin-A shares a number of effects on Sertoli cell function with PmodS.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Winter, J., Vanderstichele, H., Verhoeven, G., Timmerman, M., Wesseling, J. G., & de Jong, F. (1994). Peritubular myoid cells from immature rat testes secrete activin-A and express activin receptor type II in vitro. Endocrinology. Retrieved from