The protective effect of regucalcin against radiation-induced damage in testicular cells.
Recently, we reported large differences between rat strains in spermatogenesis recovery at 10 weeks after 5-Gy irradiation suggesting that there are interstrain as well as interspecies differences in testicular radiation response. To determine whether these interstrain differences in sensitivity might be a result of the particular dose and time-point chosen, we performed dose-response and time-course studies on sensitive Brown-Norway (BN) and more resistant spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Type A spermatogonia were observed in atrophic tubules at 10 weeks after irradiation in all strains indicating that tubular atrophy was caused by a block in their differentiation, but the doses to produce the block ranged from 4.0 Gy in BN to 10 Gy in SD rats. Although the numbers of type A spermatogonial were unaffected at doses below 6 Gy, higher doses reduced their number, indicating that stem cell killing also contributed to the failure of recovery. After 10 weeks, there was no further recovery and even a decline in spermatogonial differentiation in BN rats, but in SHR rats, sperm production returned to control levels by 20 weeks after 5.0 Gy and, after 7.5 Gy, differentiation resumed in 60% of tubules by 30 weeks. Suppression of testosterone and gonadotropins after irradiation restored production of differentiated cells in nearly all tubules in BN rats and in all tubules in SHR rats. Thus, the differences in recovery of spermatogenesis between strains were a result of both quantitative differences in their sensitivities to a radiation-induced, hormone-dependent block of spermatogonial differentiation and qualitative interstrain differences in the progression of post-irradiation recovery. The progression of recovery in SHR rats was similar to the prolonged delays in recovery of human spermatogenesis after cytotoxic agent exposure and thus may be a system for investigating a phenomenon also observed in men.