Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 81-92

The Sertoli cell: what can we learn from different vertebrate models?

Lara, Nathália de Lima e MartinsCosta, Guilherme Mattos JardimFigueiredo, André Felipe AlmeidaFrança, Luiz Renato de

Besides having medical applications, comparative studies on reproductive biology are very useful, providing, for instance, essential knowledge for basic, conservation and biotechnological research. In order to maintain the reproductive potential and the survival of all vertebrate species, both sperm and steroid production need to occur inside the testis. From the approximately fifty thousand vertebrate species still alive, very few species are already investigated; however, our knowledge regarding Sertoli cell biology is quite good. In this regard, it is already known that since testis differentiation the Sertoli cells are the somatic cells in charge of supporting and orchestrating germ cells during development and full spermatogenesis in adult animals. In the present review, we highlight key aspects related to Sertoli cell biology in vertebrates and show that this key testis somatic cell presents huge and intrinsic plasticity, particularly when cystic (fish and amphibians) and non-cystic (reptiles, birds and mammals) spermatogenesis is compared. In particular, we briefly discuss the main aspects related to Sertoli cells functions, interactions with germ cells, Sertoli cells proliferation and efficiency, as well as those regarding spermatogonial stem cell niche regulation, which are crucial aspects responsible for the magnitude of sperm production. Most importantly, we show that we could greatly benefit from investigations using different vertebrate experimental models, mainly now that there is a big concern regarding the decline in human sperm counts caused by a multitude of factors.(AU)

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