Characterization and differentiation of CD51+ Stem Leydig cells in adult mouse testes

Panpan Chen, Xiaoju Guan, Xingxing Zhao, Fenfen Chen, Jianying Yang, Yiyan Wang, Yue Hu, Qingquan Lian, Haolin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


It was reported previously that adult mouse stem Leydig cells (SLCs) express CD51 (integrin α-chain V). However, it is still unclear whether all CD51+ cells are SLCs. In the present study, we found that CD51+ cells can be classified into two sub-groups, a weakly-staining group (CD51+) and a strongly-staining group (CD51++). The CD51+ cells expressed common SLC marker genes, including Nestin, Pdgfra and Coup-tf2, while CD51++ cells did not express these genes. Instead, they expressed macrophage markers, such as F4/80, Cd115 and Tnfa. When these cells were induced to differentiate in vitro, the CD51+ cells, but not CD51++ cells, formed Leydig cells. Overall, our results showed that although SLCs expressed CD51, not all CD51-expressing cells are SLCs. The cells that expressed high levels of CD51 are actually macrophages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110449
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • CD51
  • Macrophage
  • Stem Leydig cells
  • Testis
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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