The objective of this study was to generate immortalized Sertoli cell lines from prepubertal lamb testes to facilitate investigations during the course of testicular differentiation. The Sertoli cells were enzymatically isolated and immortalized by transfection, with the sequences coding for the SV40 large T-antigen fused downstream of regulatory elements from the human vimentin gene. The different cell lines were positively stained with antibodies to vimentin and transferrin, in agreement with their Sertoli origin. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze the specific expression of molecular markers (clusterin/sulfated glycoprotein [SGP-2], follicle-stimulating hormone [rFSH], α-inhibin, anti-Müllerian hormone, Wilms' tumor gene [WT-1], steroidogenic factor 1 [SF-1], SRY-related HMG box gene g [SOX9], and sex-determining region of Y chromosome) normally expressed in this cellular type. All were shown to express messenger ribonucleic acids for SGP-2, α-inhibin, WT-1, SOX9, and SF-1 (except SF-1 for clone no. 1). Moreover, we performed alkaline phosphatase and receptor tyrosine kinase p145 (c-kit) detection to ensure the absence of contamination by peritubular, germ cells, and Leydig cells. Both tests were negative for all the seven cell lines. These ovine Sertoli cell lines are the first ones obtained from livestock that exhibit specific Sertoli cell characteristics resembling different stages of phenotypic development. They provide useful in vitro model systems for toxicological investigations, coculture, and transfection experiments, making it possible to study signal transduction pathways, cell–cell interactions, and gene expression in species other than rodents.
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Vol. 37 • No. 9