The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 43: 343 - 347 (1999)

Vol 43, Issue 4

IGF-I, IGF-II and insulin promote differentiation of spermatogonia to primary spermatocytes in organ culture of newt testes

Published: 1 July 1999

Y Nakayama, T Yamamoto and S I Abé

Department of Materials and Life Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, Japan.


Recombinant human insulin-like growth factors (rhIGF-I and rhIGF-II) and human insulin promoted the differentiation of spermatogonia into primary spermatocytes in newt testes fragments cultured in a chemically defined medium. The biological potency for promoting differentiation was dose-dependent for all the ligands with the highest potency displayed by IGF-I, followed by IGF-II, and the least by insulin. The difference in potency was larger between IGF-II and insulin than that between IGF-I and IGF-II. This order of biological potency was in good accordance with the order of affinity in binding specificity of [125I]IGF-I to the testicular membrane fractions: IGF-II and insulin competed the binding of [125I]IGF-I only at concentrations 20-fold and 100-fold higher, respectively, than IGF-I. Specific binding was observed in both somatic cells (mostly Sertoli cells) and germ cells (spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes), though the binding to somatic cells was about 2.7 times higher than that to germ cells. These results indicate that (1) specific binding sites for IGF-I are present in the newt testes, (2) IGF-II and insulin also bind to these receptors but to a lesser degree, and (3) IGF-II and insulin as well as IGF-I promote spermatogonial differentiation into primary spermatocytes by binding to the IGF-I receptor.

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