Regulation of blood-testis barrier dynamics: An in vivo study
An in vivo model was used to investigate the regulation of tight junction (TJ) dynamics in the testis when adult rats were treated with CdCl2. It was shown that the CdCl2-induced disruption of the blood-testis barrier (BTB) associated with a transient induction in testicular TGF-β2 and TGF-β3 (but not TGF-β1 and the phosphorylated p38 mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase, concomitant with a loss of occludin and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) from the BTB site in the seminiferous epithelium. These results suggest that BTB dynamics in vivo are regulated by TGF-β2/-β3 via the p38 MAP kinase pathway. Indeed, SB202190, a specific p38 MAP kinase inhibitor, blocked the CdCl2-induced occludin and ZO-1 loss from the BTB. This result clearly illustrates that CdCl2 mediates its BTB disruptive effects via the TGF-β3/p38 MAP kinase signaling pathway. Besides, this CdCl2-induced occludin and ZO-1 loss from the BTB also associated with a significant loss of the cadherin/catenin and the nectin/afadin protein complexes at the site of cell-cell actin-based adherens junctions (AJs). An induction of α2-macroglobulin (a non-specific protease inhibitor) was also observed during BTB damage and when the seminiferous epithelium was being depleted of germ cells. These data illustrate that a primary disruption of the BTB can lead to a secondary loss of cell adhesion function at the site of AJs, concomitant with an induction in protease inhibitor, which apparently is used to protect the epithelium from unwanted proteolysis. α2-Macroglobulin was also shown to associate physically with TGF-β3, afadin and nectin 3, but not occludin, E-cadherin or N-cadherin, indicating its possible role in junction restructuring in vivo. Additionally, the use of SB202190 to block the TGF-β3/p-38 MAP kinase pathway also prevented the CdCl2-induced loss of cadherin/catenin and nectin/afadin protein complexes from the AJ sites, yet it had no apparent effect on α2-macroglobulin. These results demonstrate for the first time that the TGF-β3/p38 MAP kinase signaling pathway is being used to regulate both TJ and AJ dynamics in the testis, mediated by the effects of TGF-β3 on TJ- and AJ-integral membrane proteins and adaptors, but not protease inhibitors.
Wong, Ching-hang, Dolores D. Mruk, Wing-Yee Lui, and C. Yan Cheng. 2004. "Regulation of blood-testis barrier dynamics: An in vivo study," Journal of Cell Science 117(5): 783–798.
The Biology of Blood–Testis Barrier Dynamics