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Living with females extends the reproductive life of the male mouse, says Penn veterinary researcher
Date:1/22/2009

alysis indicated that abnormal spermatogenesis occurred sooner in isolated males, suggesting that defects in spermatogenesis may play a role in the greater decrease in fertility in isolated males.

"If it turns out that this reproductive effect is mimicked in other species, for example, livestock animals that affect food production, then a 20 percent increase in male fertility could mean an extension of the male reproductive life span of years," Brinster said. "This finding may also have relevance for the protection of some large endangered species."

This research continues 10 years of study on the relationship between the stem cell environment, called the "niche" and spermatogonial stem cells, or SSCs. Brinster's team first discovered that the niche in the testis of the newborn male mouse supports the stem cell and its differentiation to produce complete spermatogenesis better than the niche in the mature adult male testis. In subsequent studies, Brinster determined that when the SSCs of young males were transferred into new young testes every three months, the SSCs survived for more than three years, a greater than 50 percent increase in life of the stem cell. Therefore, in old males it was the SSC niche in the testis that was failing long before the SSC, which was relatively long-lived.

The female is just one of many environmental cues that may influence the niche and cells, and thereby fertility, of the male. Whether this female influence occurs in other species is not known, but it is known that the female profoundly modifies a variety of responses in males in many areas of male physiology and psychology.

The study was performed by Brinster of the Department of Animal Biology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn, as well as Jonathan A. Schmidt and Jon M. Oatley, now of the Department of Dairy and Animal Science at Pennsylvania State University. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert J. Kle
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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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