Author(s): Fijak M, Iosub R, Schneider E, Linder M, Respondek K,
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Abstract Infection and inflammation of the genital tract are amongst the leading causes of male infertility. Experimental autoimmune orchitis (EAO) in the rat serves as a model for the investigation of inflammatory testicular impairment. In this study, experiments were conducted to identify the molecules that are responsible for eliciting the autoimmune attack on the testis. EAO was induced in in-bred Wistar rats by active immunization with testis homogenates (EAO group I). Development of disease was observed using histological techniques and a new non-invasive three-dimensional (3D) imaging technology for in vivo monitoring, termed flat-panel volumetric computed tomography (fpvCT). Examination of control and EAO testes demonstrated the superior image quality of high-resolution fpvCT. A proteomics approach using 2D SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting analysis with EAO sera identified 12 spots. Seven were subsequently identified by mass spectrometry as heat shock proteins 60 (Hsp60) and 70 (Hsp70), disulphide isomerase ER-60, alpha-1-anti-trypsin, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H1 (hnRNP H1), sperm outer dense fibre major protein 2 (ODF-2), and phosphoglycerate kinase 1. Hsp70, ODF-2, hnRNP H1, and ER-60 were identified by all EAO sera studied. To test the capacity of the identified proteins to elicit testicular autoimmune disease, recombinant proteins were used either individually or in combination to immunize rats (EAO group II). In all groups, the incidence of EAO was 25\%. Inflammatory-type (ED1+) and resident (ED2+) macrophages, lymphocytes (CD45RA+), and dendritic cells (Ox-62+) were strongly increased in EAO group II animals, comparable to the testes of EAO I rats. Pre-immunization with a low dose of recombinant Hsp 70, hnRNP H1 or ODF-2 before induction of EAO with testis homogenate significantly delayed the onset of EAO but could not prevent disease. The identification of testicular autoantigens will allow a better understanding of disease pathogenesis and could provide a basis for the development of novel therapies for inflammation-based male infertility. Copyright (c) 2005 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in J Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy