Immunolocalisation of 11β-HSD-1 and -2, glucocorticoid receptor, mineralocorticoid receptor and Na+K+-ATPase during the postnatal development of the rat epididymis
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Medical Sciences / Systems and Intervention Research Centre for Health
Glucocorticoids have been implicated in male reproductive function and 11β-HSD-1 and -2, the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), all of which are known to modulate glucocorticoid action, have been localised in the adult rat epididymis, but their developmental expression has not been investigated. Na+K+-ATPase activity, responsible for sodium transport, is induced by both mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids in the kidney and colon, and has been localised in epididymal epithelium. This study examined the immunolocalisation of 11β-HSD-1 and -2, GR, MR and Na+K+-ATPase in rat epididymal epithelium (n = 5) at postnatal days (pnd) 1, 7, 15, 28, 40, 60, 75 and 104, and relative mRNA expression of 11β-HSD-1 and -2, and GR at pre-puberty (pnd 28) and post-puberty (pnd 75). 11β-HSD-1, GR and MR were localised in the epididymal epithelium from pnd 1, and 11β-HSD-2 and Na+K+-ATPase reactivity from pnd 15. At pnd 28 there was maximal immunoreactivity for both the GR and MR and 11β-HSD-1 and -2. 11β-HSD-1 mRNA expression in the caput increased from pre- to post-puberty, whereas 11β-HSD-2 mRNA expression fell over the same period (P < 0.01). GR mRNA expression was similar at pre- and post-puberty in both caput and cauda. Developmental changes in expression of 11β-HSD-1 and -2 suggest that overall exposure of the epididymis to glucocorticoids increases post-puberty, but cell-specific expression of the 11β-HSD enzymes still provides a capacity for intricate local control of glucocorticoid exposure.