Serotonin concentration, synthesis, cell origin, and targets in the rat caput epididymis during sexual maturation and variations associated with adult mating status: Morphological and biochemical studies

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Jimenez-Trejo, Francisco
Tapia-Rodriguez, Miguel
Queiroz, Daniel Barboza Cava [UNIFESP]
Padilla, Patricia
Avellar, Maria Christina Werneck [UNIFESP]
Manzano, Patricia Rivas
Manjarrez-Gutierrez, Gabriel
Gutierrez-Ospina, Gabriel
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The caput epididymis of some mammals contains large quantities of serotonin whose origin, targets, and physiological variations have been poorly studied. We combined morphological and biochemical techniques to begin approaching these aspects of serotonin in the rat caput epididymis. Serotonin immunostaining was detected in mast, epithelial, and neuroendocrine cells. Epithelial cells displayed immunoreactivity to 5HT(1A), 5HT(2A), and 5HT(3) serotonin receptors. Endothelial and mast cells labeled positive for 5HT(1B) serotonin receptors and spermatozoa displayed 5HT2A and 5HT3 serotonin receptor immunoreactivity. Epithelial, endothelial, and mast cells stained positive for serotonin transporters. Only epithelial cells showed tryptophan hydroxylase immunoreactivity; this enzyme catalyzes the limiting step in the serotonin synthetic pathway. in addition, Western blot analyses of caput homogenates documented the presence of 2 protein bands (approximate to 51 kd and 48 kd) that were immunoreactive for tryptophan hydroxylase. Chromatographic analyses documented the presence of tryptophan hydroxylase in the caput, and showed that both its activity and serotonin availability increased with sexual maturation and decreased following p-chlorophenylalanine treatment, an inhibitor of tryptophan hydroxylase activity. Interestingly, serotonin concentration and tryptophan hydroxylase activity tended to be higher in breeding males than in those with no mating experience. We think that these results support the existence of a local serotoninergic system in the rat caput epididymis that might regulate some aspects of male reproductive function.
Journal of Andrology. Lawrence: Amer Soc Andrology, Inc, v. 28, n. 1, p. 136-149, 2007.