The present work reports on testicular hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), the biological significance of which has been documented in male fertility. The HSL protein levels and enzymatic activity were measured, respectively, by densitometry of immunoreactive bands in Western blots, performed with antibodies against recombinant rat HSL, and by spectrophotometry in seminiferous tubules (STf) and interstitial tissue (ITf) enriched fractions generated from neonatal, pubertal, and adult guinea pig testes. In addition, HSL was studied in subcellular fractions obtained from STf isolated from adult testes and in epididymal spermatozoa (Spz). A 104-kDa HSL protein was detected in STf and ITf, the expression and activity of which increased with testicular development. Three immunoreactive bands of 104, 110, and 120 kDa were detected in the lysosomal subfraction, and two bands of 104 and 120 kDa were detected in Spz. The HSL activity was positively correlated with free (FC) and esterified (EC) cholesterol ratios in STf and ITf, but not with triglyceride (TG) levels, during testicular development. Immunolabeling localized HSL to elongated spermatids and Sertoli cells, where its distribution was stage-dependent, and within the cells lining the excurrent ducts of the testis. The findings of the 104- and 120-kDa HSL immunoreactive bands and of HSL activity in Spz as well, as the detection of the 104-, 110-, and 120-kDa immunoreactive bands in lysosomes, suggest that part of HSL may originate from germ cells and be imported in Sertoli cells. The HSL protein levels and enzymatic activity in ITf and STf were positively correlated with serum testosterone levels during development. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to contribute insights regarding the impact of HSL on FC:EC cholesterol ratios and TG levels in the interstitial tissue and tubules in relation to serum testosterone levels during postnatal development, and regarding the immunolocalization of the enzyme in regions of the male gamete consistent with spermatozoa-oocyte interaction.
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