Testosterone induces and maintains prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2, also known as cyclooxygenase 2) expression in vas deferens epithelial cells, but it remains unknown whether this has a physiological role in the context of male reproductive biology. Prostaglandins induce concentration-dependent increases in anion secretion in porcine vas deferens epithelial cell (1°PVD) monolayers, where bicarbonate contributes to cAMP-stimulated anion secretion. Moreover, bradykinin induces anion secretion across 1°PVD monolayers that is indomethacin sensitive, and both PTGS2 and PTGS1 are expressed in this model system. Therefore, it was hypothesized that testosterone modulates anion secretion across vas deferens epithelia via PTGS-dependent pathways and prostaglandin synthesis. Porcine vas deferens epithelial cells were isolated and cultured as monolayers on permeable supports until assayed in modified Ussing chambers. RNA and protein were isolated concurrently for semiquantitative expression analysis. Testosterone upregulated basal and bradykinin-induced short-circuit current across 1°PVD monolayers, indicative of anion secretion. Testosterone also induced greater transepithelial electrical resistance. Increases in anion secretion were associated with preferential upregulation of PTGS2 at the mRNA and protein levels. In addition, testosterone induced greater basal and bradykinin-induced anion secretion across vas deferens epithelial cells isolated from the distal segment of the duct. Taken together, these results suggest that testosterone upregulates epithelial responsiveness to acute modulations of anion secretion (likely bicarbonate secretion), which ultimately modifies the environment to which sperm are exposed.
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Vol. 81 • No. 4