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The steroidogenic potential of male germ cells and its role on the regulation of the luteinizing hormone receptor in the flatfish Solea senegalensis

Grant number: 19/26019-6
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 29, 2020
Effective date (End): February 27, 2021
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Fishery Resources and Fishery Engineering - Aquaculture
Principal researcher:Maria Ines Borella
Grantee:Marília de Paiva Camargo
Supervisor abroad: François Albert Chauvigne
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:17/10012-7 - Endocrine and paracrine regulation of the spermatogonial niche in Astyanax altiparanae (Teleostei, Characidae): the role of AMH, BP.DR


The flatfish Senegalese sole, Solea senegalensis is one of the most important species for the diversification of marine aquaculture in Southern Europe. However, one of the main problems that limit the success of its cultivation are the reproductive dysfunctions arising in the first generation (F1) of fish raised in captivity, especially in males. In recent years, several studies have begun to investigate the reproductive endocrinology of Senegalese sole to identify the underlying causes of the low fertilization potential of the F1 males. Recently, studies have demonstrated that Senegalese sole recombinant follicle-stimulating (Fsh) and luteinizing (Lh) hormones (rFsh and rLh, respectively) can promote testicular steroidogenesis and regulate genes involved in spermatogenesis, and also enhance sperm production in vivo in this species. However, further studies are still required to establish the most effective protocols for the induction of sperm production in Senegalese sole by hormonal therapies. The aim of the present project is to investigate the steroidogenic potential of haploid germ cells (spermatids) in sole, which are released into the lumen of the seminiferous tubules and differentiate to spermatozoa in response to the Lh activation of the Lh receptor (Lhcgrba) localized in their plasma membrane. For this purpose, mature and immature spermatids isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) will be incubated with or without steroid precursors (selected based on the enzymes expressed in spermatids previously found by the host group), and the production of androgens, estrogens and progestins will be determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). In these experiments, we will also employ inhibitors of steroidogenic enzymes, and the effect of steroids on Lhcgrba expression and spermatid transition to spermatozoa in vitro will be assessed. The investigation of all these mechanisms for the first time in teleosts will be of high interest to refine hormone therapies that can significantly enhance sperm production in cultured Senegalese sole. (AU)

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