Stem Leydig cell differentiation: Gene expression during development of the adult rat population of Leydig cells

Erin L. Stanley, Daniel S. Johnston, Jinjiang Fan, Vassilios Papadopoulos, Haolin Chen, Ren Shan Ge, Barry R. Zirkin, Scott A. Jelinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Leydig cells are the testosterone-producing cells in the adult male. Adult Leydig cells (ALCs) develop from stem Leydig cells (SLCs) through at least two intermediate cells, progenitor Leydig cells (PLCs) and immature Leydig cells (ILCs). Microarray gene expression was used to identify the transcriptional changes that occur with the differentiation of SLCs to PLCs and, thus, with the entry of SLCs into the Leydig cell lineage; to comprehensively examine differentiation through the development of ALCs; and to relate the pattern of gene expression in SLCs to that in a wellestablished stem cell, bone marrow stem cells (BSCs). We show that the pattern of gene expression by SLCs was more similar to the expression by BSCs, an established stem cell outside the male reproductive tract, than to any of the cells in the Leydig cell developmental lineage. These results indicated that the SLCs have many of the molecular characteristics of other stem cells. Pathway analysis indicated that development of Leydig cells from SLCs to PLCs was associated with decreased expression of genes related to adhesion and increased expression of genes related to steroidogenesis. Gene expression changes between PLCs and ILCs and between ILCs and ALCs were relatively minimal, suggesting that these cells are highly similar. In contrast, gene expression changes between SLCs and ALCs were quite distinct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1166
Number of pages6
JournalBiology of reproduction
Volume85
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Gene expression
  • Leydig cells
  • Stem cells
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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