It was reported recently that vertebrate-type steroids exist and control reproduction in several groups of invertebrates, including molluscs. Sexually reproductive freshwater planarians of the species Bdellocephala brunnea have a limited breeding season in their natural habitat. This phenomenon suggests that some endogenous reproductive hormones might play a role in vivo. However, to date, sex steroids such as androgen, estrogen, and progesterone have not been found in planarians. The goal of the present study was to determine whether androgen is present in sexual planarians such as B. brunnea. The presence of testosterone was detected by high-pressure liquid chromatography and, in sexually reproductive individuals in which no seminal vesicles were visible, the level of testosterone was about twice than that in individuals with visible seminal vesicles. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay revealed that the levels of testosterone during terminal spermatogenesis were three times higher than during the spermatocyte-building phase. Our results indicate that sexually reproductive freshwater planarians such as B. brunnea might have vertebrate-type steroids and show variation in testosterone levels during spermatogenesis.
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