Spermatogenesis is the process of spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) proliferation and differentiation to generate sperm. This process is regulated by cell–cell interactions between Sertoli cells and developing SSCs by autocrine/paracrine and endocrine factors. It is also affected by cells in the interstitial compartment, such as Leydig cells and peritubular cells. Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, the presence of interleukin-34 (IL-34) in Leydig, Sertoli, and peritubular cells and in the premeiotic, meiotic, and postmeiotic cells. Its receptor, colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1), has already been demonstrated in Leydig, Sertoli, premeiotic, and meiotic cells. IL-34 was detected in testicular homogenates and Sertoli cell-conditioned media, and was affected by mouse age. We showed that the addition of IL-34 in vitro to isolated cells from the seminiferous tubules of 7-day-old mice, using the methylcellulose culture system (MCS), increased the percentages and expression of the premeiotic cells (VASA), the meiotic cells (BOULE), and the meiotic/postmeiotic cells (ACROSIN) after four weeks of culture, when examined by immunofluorescence staining (IF) and qPCR analysis. It is possible to suggest that IL-34 is a novel paracrine/autocrine factor involved in the development of spermatogenesis. This factor may be used in future therapeutic strategies for the treatment of male infertility.
- Autocrine/paracrine factors
- Colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1)
- In vitro culture of spermatogonial cells