Evidence for immunoreactive relaxin in boar seminal vesicles using combined light and electron microscope immunocytochemistry

in Reproduction

Summary. Light-microscope immunocytochemistry using the peroxidase–antiperoxidase technique and a polyclonal rabbit antiserum raised against purified porcine relaxin showed that cytoplasmic immunostaining for relaxin could be visualized in the epithelial cells of the seminal vesicle. No relaxin immunoreactivity was seen in the testis, epididymis, ductus deferens, prostate or bulbo–urethral gland. A ten times higher concentration of porcine relaxin antiserum was necessary to achieve immunostaining in the seminal vesicle comparable to that in the corpora lutea of pregnant sows.

Ultrastructural examination showed that the epithelial cells of the boar seminal vesicle resembled typical protein-secreting cells with prominent rough endoplasmic reticulum and well-developed Golgi apparatus. The most striking feature of these cells was the accumulation of granules with a limiting membrane, which ranged from 200 to 600 nm in diameter and contained flocculent material of moderate electron density. Electron-microscope immunocytochemistry using the protein A-gold technique and relaxin antiserum demonstrated that the granules were the only intracellular organelles that showed immunoreactivity for relaxin.

These results indicate that a relaxin-like substance is present in boar seminal vesicles and that the subcellular site of its localization is the granules, suggesting that the seminal vesicle produces and stores a relaxin-like substance, but that it is present at much lower concentrations than in the corpora lutea of pregnant sows.

Keywords: relaxin; seminal vesicle; immunocytochemistry; boar

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