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The platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) system is expressed and can exert its biological role in the male reproductive system including the maintenance of morphological structure and function of the epididymis. The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between the PDGF system and seasonal changes in morphology of the wild ground squirrel epididymis during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining was used to observe the epididymal morphology and histology. Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting were performed to detect the immunoreactivities of PDGF-A and B and PDGFR-α. Significant seasonal changes in epididymal morphology were observed in the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. The proportions of the three compartments (interstitial tissue, epithelium and lumen of the duct) revealed distinct variances. Strong immunostaining of PDGF-A was present in the myoid cell and on the sperm in the breeding season, whereas there was a faint signal in the myoid cell in the nonbreeding season. PDGFR-α was expressed in all cell types of the epithelium throughout the whole seasonal cycle, and immunostaining of PDGFR-α in the breeding season was significantly stronger compared with that of the nonbreeding season. PDGF-B was not detected in the epididymis of wild ground squirrels. These results suggested that seasonal morphological changes in epididymis were correlated with immunoreactivities of PDGF-A and its receptor PDGFR-α and that PDGF-A and PDGFR-α might function as paracrine, autocrine or apocrine factors in wild ground squirrels.


Mengyuan Zhang, Xia Sheng, Haolin Zhang, Qian Wang, Meiyu Xu, Qiang Weng, Gen Watanabe, Kazuyoshi Taya. Seasonal changes in morphology and immunoreactivity of PDGF-A and its receptor PDGFR-α in the epididymis of wild ground squirrels (Citellus dauricus Brandt). The Journal of reproduction and development. 2012;58(3):353-9

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PMID: 22447327

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