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J Mol Endocrinol 2009 Nov 01;435:209-19. doi: 10.1677/JME-09-0058.
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Exposure of Xenopus laevis tadpoles to finasteride, an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase activity, impairs spermatogenesis and alters hypophyseal feedback mechanisms.

Urbatzka R , Watermann B , Lutz I , Kloas W .

Sexual steroids have major regulatory functions in gonadal development, maturation of gametes and sexual differentiation in vertebrates. Previous studies in amphibians provided evidence that dihydrotestosterone and activity of 5-alpha reductases might play a significant role in androgen-mediated reproductive biology. To test the involvement of 5-alpha reductases in maturation of gametes in amphibians, Xenopus laevis was exposed to finasteride (FIN), a known inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase enzyme activity. In a long-term exposure from stage 46 to 66, severe disruption of spermatogenesis was observed in histological analysis of testes as detected by occurrence of empty spermatocysts, while ovaries remained unaffected. Real-time PCR analyses of male and female brain revealed an increase of LHbeta mRNA and a decrease of FSHbeta mRNA in males, suggesting a signalling on testes that could result in increased steroidogenesis and reduced Sertoli cell proliferation. Accordingly, the mRNA expression of P450 side chain cleavage enzyme and 5-alpha reductase type 2 was increased in testes, while no effects could be observed on steroidogenic genes in ovaries. A short-term exposure to testosterone, FIN and testosterone+FIN showed that transient effects of FIN targeted males selectively and, in particular, interfered with the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis. Furthermore, a negative feedback of testosterone on LHbeta was observed on males and females. This study provides evidence that exposure of X. laevis to FIN, an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductases, impaired spermatogenesis and involved sex-specific hypophyseal feedback mechanisms.

PubMed ID: 19553238
Article link: J Mol Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cyp11a1 cyp19a1 fshb lhb srd5a1 srd5a2 star