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Immunolocalization of estrogen receptor beta in the epididymis of mature and immature pigs.

Author(s): A Carpino | B Bilinska | L Siciliano | M Maggiolini | V Rago

Journal: Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica
ISSN 0239-8508

Volume: 42;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Estrogen receptor | Epididymis | Pig | Development | Male reproductive tract | Immunohistochemistry

A growing body of evidence suggests a role of estrogens in the male reproduction via their specific estrogen receptors (ERalpha/ERbeta). Estrogen receptor distribution along the genital tract tissues has been described in different species, but it is unknown in the pig. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to localize ERbeta in the epididymis of mature and immature pigs (aged 2 and 18 months, respectively). Immunohistochemistry was carried out on paraffin-embedded tissues using a mouse anti-human monoclonal IgG against ERbeta as the primary antibody, and a goat anti-mouse biotinylated IgG as the secondary antibody. Avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex was then applied followed by diaminobenzidine. In immature pigs, the epithelial cells from the caput, corpus and cauda epididymis showed no or very weak immunoreactivity for ERbeta, whereas they were all strongly immmunoreactive in mature pigs. A various intensity of immunostaining from weak to strong in the smooth muscle cells as well as in the connective tissue cells were detected in the epididymis of both, young and adult pigs. This is the first report on the cellular localization of ERbeta protein in porcine epidydimis. The present study demonstrated that (1) irrespectively of the epididymal region, the epithelial cells of caput, corpus and cauda epididymis of mature pigs revealed a strong immunoreactivity for ERbeta, and (2) ERbeta expression in the epididymal epithelium is regulated by puberty. Finally, although the biological activity of ERbeta has not yet been established, the results of the present study suggest its involvement in estrogen modulation of pig epididymal function.

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