Immunolocalization of aromatase P450 in the epididymis of Podarcis sicula and Rattus rattus
The goal of this study was to evaluate P450 aromatase localization in the epididymis of two different vertebrates: the lizard Podarcis sicula, a seasonal breeder, and Rattus rattus, a continuous breeder. P450 aromatase is a key enzyme involved in the local control of spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis and we proved for the first time that this enzyme is represented in the epididymis of both P. sicula and R. rattus. In details, P450 aromatase was well represented in epithelial and myoid cells and in the connective tissue of P. sicula epididymis during the reproductive period; instead, during autumnal resumption this enzyme was absent in the connective tissue. During the non-reproductive period, P450 aromatase was localized only in myoid cells of P. sicula epididymis, whereas in R. rattus it was localized both in myoid cells and connective tissue. Our findings, the first on the epididymis aromatase localization in the vertebrates, suggest a possible role of P450 aromatase in the control of male genital tract function, particularly in sperm maturation.
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