Effects of Vitamin E on the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Testicular Development Exposed to Valproic Acid

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Daniel Conei; Mariana Rojas; Luis Santamaría & Jennie Risopatrón


In testicular differentiation, somatic cells must adopt a specific destiny towards sustentacular, peritubular and interstitial cells, being fundamental for the morphogenesis of seminiferous tubules, mediated by morphogens such as Desert Hedgehog (DHH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and fibroblastic growth factor 2 (FGF-2). Its alteration could be related to failures in the development mechanisms, such as those caused by valproic acid (VPA), which can be reversed with vitamin E (VE). The objective of the study was to evaluate the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the testicular development of mice exposed to VPA and VE. 12 groups of pregnant female mice were formed that were separated by days post-coital (dpc) at 12.5 dpc, 17.5 dpc and 6 weeks postnatal, each one subdivided into 4 groups of 5 pregnant women each. Subgroups received different treatments from the beginning to the end of gestation orally: 600 mg/kg of VPA, 600 mg/kg of VPA and 200 IU of VE, 200 IU of VE and the control group 0.3 mL of 0.9% physiological solution. Immunohistochemistry was performed for the detection of DHH, IGF-1 and FGF-2. Immunolocalization of DHH was observed in all stages, with more evident significant differences in integrated optical density (IOD) and percentage of immunoreaction area at 6 weeks postnatal, being lower in the VPA group. In IGF-1, lower intensity and distribution of immunostaining was observed in the fetal and pubertal stages in the VPA groups, a similar situation with FGF-2, but only evident at 17.5 dpc, with significant differences. These results demonstrate that VPA can alter EMT between somatic cells in testicular development, with VE being an agent capable of attenuating this process.

KEY WORDS: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Desert Hedgehog; Insulin-like Growth Factor-1; Fibroblastic Growth Factor 2; Valproic acid.

How to cite this article

CONEI, D.; ROJAS, M.; SANTAMARÍA, L. & RISOPATRÓN, J. Effects of vitamin E on the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in testicular development exposed to valproic acid. Int. J. Morphol., 39(4):947-955, 2021.