Summary. FSH binding and cAMP responses to FSH in Sertoli cell-enriched testes were not affected by the vitamin A (retinol) status of the animals. These results indicate that changes in Sertoli cell functions during vitamin A deficiency are independent of FSH–Sertoli cell interactions. Concentrations of serum androgen binding protein (ABP) in vitamin A-deficient rats were consistently higher than those of control animals throughout the study period. The accumulation of testicular fluid after efferent duct ligation, an indication of Sertoli cell secretory function, was normal in vitamin A-deficient rats at least until 70 days of age, but declined thereafter. ABP concentrations in seminiferous tubular fluid of vitamin A-deficient rats increased transitorily during the 70–80-day age period but returned to normal by 90 days. The increment of ABP in seminiferous tubular fluid after efferent duct ligation, and ABP concentrations in interstitial fluid were consistently lower in vitamin A-deficient rats. The higher serum ABP in vitamin A-deficient rats therefore cannot be explained by an increase in the permeability of Sertoli-cell tight junctions or basement membrane.
Keywords: vitamin A; Sertoli cell; androgen binding protein; seminiferous tubule; FSH; cAMP