Ontogenesis of the nuclear 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine receptor in the rat testis

Emmanuele A. Jannini, Michele Olivieri, Sandro Francavilla, Alberto Gulino, Elio Ziparo, Massimino D'Armiento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate the ontogenesis of the nuclear T3 receptor among the different cell types in the rat testis from fetuses at the 19th day of gestation and animals 1, 5, 15, 20, and 60 days after birth. Whole testis, tubular fraction, nontubular fractions, and Sertoli cells cultured in vitro or enriched in vivo by irradiation were used. The results demonstrate that high affinity, low capacity T3-binding sites are localized only in Sertoli cells; the binding specificity and affinity (Kd ranges from 0.8 ± 0.2 to 2.6 ± 0.4 nM) do not change significantly with the age of the animals and are comparable to those observed for T3 receptors in other mammalian tissues. In the whole testis, the concentration of receptors changes during gonadal development, being maximally expressed in the fetus (154.3 ± 8.1 fg T3 bound/106 nuclei) and from 1 (203.4 ± 10.9 fg T3 bound/106 nuclei) to 5 (185.3 ± 15.1 fg T3 bound/106 nuclei) days of postnatal life, decreasing significantly at 15 and 20 days (65.4 ± 2.0 and 57.9 ± 1.9 fg T3 bound/106 nuclei, respectively) and being virtually absent in the adult. The same change in receptor concentration was found in Sertoli cells obtained by different techniques. This ontogenetic profile coincides with the pattern of Sertoli cell proliferation and differentiation, thus suggesting a role of thyroid hormones in the regulation of growth and maturation of the somatic cells of the seminiferous epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2521-2526
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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