Lipocalin-type prostaglandin D synthase (L-PGDS), a bifunctional protein, is expressed in the male reproductive organs of many species. However, the expression and regulation of L-PGDS in rat are still uncertain. The present study investigated the regionalization and regulation of L-PGDS expression in rat testis and epididymis by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry under the conditions of sexual maturation, castration, and ethylene dimethane sulfonate (EDS) treatments. In sexually mature rats, L-PGDS mRNA was weakly expressed only in the testicular peritubular cells, whereas L-PGDS immunostaining was highly detected in the Leydig cells by Day 70 postpartum. During sexual maturation, L-PGDS mRNA expression was highly detected in the caput, corpus, and cauda of the epididymis 70 days after birth. Compared with normal L-PGDS expression in adult epididymis, both L-PGDS mRNA expression and protein immunostaining were significantly reduced in the caput, corpus, and cauda epididymis after castration. Testosterone propionate treatment induced a significant increase of L-PGDS expression in the epididymis of castrated rats. Compared with adult rat epididymis, L-PGDS mRNA and protein expression was down-regulated after EDS treatment. Testosterone propionate treatment could induce an increase of L-PGDS mRNA and protein expression in the epididymis of EDS-treated rats. In conclusion, both castration and EDS treatments caused a significant decrease of L-PGDS expression in the epididymis, whereas testosterone propionate treatment could induce an increase of L-PGDS expression in the epididymis of both castrated and EDS-treated rats, indicating that L-PGDS expression in the rat epididymis can be up-regulated by testosterone.
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