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Chunjin Li and Xu Zhou

Neurotrophins are a family of polypeptide growth factors that are required for the proliferation, differentiation, survival, and death of neuronal cells. A growing body of evidence suggests that they may have broader physiological roles in various non-neuronal tissues. The testicles are complex non-neuronal organs in which diverse cell types interact to achieve correct spermatogenesis. Both neurotrophins and their receptors have been detected in various cell types from mammalian testes, suggesting that neurotrophins may regulate or mediate intercellular communication within this organ. This review summarizes the existing data on the cellular distribution and possible biological roles of neurotrophins in the testes. The data reported in the literature indicate that neurotrophins affect somatic cell growth and spermatogenesis and imply that they play a role in regulating testicular development and male reproduction.

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Qiaoge Niu, Maosheng Cao, Chenfeng Yuan, Yuwen Huang, Zijiao Zhao, Boqi Zhang, Xin Wang, Yameng Wei, Wenjing Fan, Xu Zhou and Chunjin Li

Nerve growth factor (NGF) has been proved to play important roles in male reproductive physiology, but the molecular mechanisms of NGF action remain unclear. In this study, the effects of NGF on the growth of newborn bovine testicular Sertoli (NBS) cells and the related signaling pathways were investigated. The NBS cells were treated in vitro with NGF (100 ng/mL) for 18 h. The expression levels of cell proliferation related genes, INHBB, and cytoplasmic specialization related gene were determined using real-time PCR and Western blot. The roles of PI3K/AKT and MAPK/ERK pathways in NGF-induced cell proliferation were investigated. It was found that NGF regulates proliferation and function of NBS cells via its receptor NTRK1 by activating the PI3K/ATK and MAPK/ERK signaling pathways. The study will help to further understand the role of NGF in male reproduction and provide new therapeutic targets for reproductive dysfunctions in male animals.