Author(s): Furland NE, Zanetti SR, Oresti GM, Maldonado EN, Aveldao MI
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Abstract Very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLCPUFA) have previously been shown to be components of sphingomyelin (SM) of mammalian testis and spermatozoa. Here we examined the fatty acids of testicular ceramide (Cer) in comparison with those of SM in some mammals with a special focus on the rat testis. In bull, cat, dog, rabbit, mouse, and rat, VLCPUFA were found in both testicular lipids, Cer having a higher percentage of VLCPUFA than SM. Rat testis had the highest percentage of VLCPUFA in both lipids, the major ones being 28:4n-6 and 30:5n-6. VLCPUFA-containing SM and Cer occurred in cells located in the seminiferous tubules, where germ cells had a higher percentage of these species than Sertoli cells. Seminiferous tubule fractionation showed that SM and Cer of mitochondria and lysosomes had mostly saturates and negligible VLCPUFA, the latter being important in the SM and Cer of microsomes and other membrane fractions. VLCPUFA were absent from the SM and Cer of rat prepuberal testis, increased with the onset of spermatogenesis to account for nearly 15 and 40\% of the total fatty acids of testicular SM and Cer, respectively, remained at those levels throughout the adult life of fertile rats and tended to decrease at advanced ages. Four conditions that lead to selective death of germ cells in vivo, namely experimental cryptorchidism, post-ischemic reperfusion, focalized x-ray irradiation and treatments with the antineoplasic drug doxorubicin, caused the VLCPUFA to disappear from the testicular SM and Cer of adult fertile rats, showing that these lipids are specific traits of spermatogenic cells.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology