Prostaglandin D synthetase is expressed relatively highly in the testis and reproductive tract of a number of species, including the mouse. In adult mouse testis, expression is confined largely to the Leydig cells and in this study changes in the expression and localization of prostaglandin D synthetase mRNA during testis development were examined. Initial studies using RT-PCR and isolated testicular compartments indicated that prostaglandin D synthetase expression in the neonatal testis was predominantly within the seminiferous tubules. In situ hybridization studies confirmed that prostaglandin D synthetase mRNA appears to be expressed only in the tubules of neonatal mouse testes and only in the interstitial tissue of the adult testis. TaqMan real-time PCR was used to quantify prostaglandin D synthetase mRNA content during development using an exogenous mRNA as a control standard. Expression per testis decreased after birth to < 10% at day 15 before recovering again by days 25-30. After day 30, expression per testis increased 40-fold during final development to adulthood. Studies using RT-PCR showed that early expression before day 15 was restricted to the tubular compartment, whereas the subsequent increase in expression after day 30 was restricted to the interstitial compartment. Database analysis showed that the 3' end of the prostaglandin D synthetase transcript was subject to alternate splicing. Both splice isoforms were shown by RT-PCR to be present throughout development and without a major change in expression pattern. These results indicate that expression of prostaglandin D synthetase mRNA shifts during development from the tubular compartment of the fetal or neonatal testis to the developing adult Leydig cells, with expression in the Leydig cells increasing markedly after puberty. These changes are similar to those observed for 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type III and may indicate that this developmental process is not uncommon in the testis.
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