Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Proliferation and apoptosis processes in the seasonal testicular development of the wild Daurian ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt, 1844)

Yingying Han A , Jinqi Zhan A , Ying Xu A , Fengwei Zhang A , Zhengrong Yuan A and Qiang Weng A B

A College of Biological Science and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35 Tsinghua East Road Haidian District, Beijing, 100083, China.

B Corresponding author. Email: qiangweng@bjfu.edu.cn

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD16063
Submitted: 5 February 2016  Accepted: 15 August 2016   Published online: 28 September 2016

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to elucidate the regulatory role of cell proliferation and apoptosis in testicular development of wild Daurian ground squirrels during the breeding season (April), the non-breeding season (June) and before hibernation (September). Gross mass and hormonal analysis showed that the testis : body mass ratio and plasma testosterone concentration fluctuated seasonally, with a peak in April and lowest values in June. Similarly, spermatogenesis was fully developed in April but suppressed in June and September. Testicular decellularisation and vacuolisation was seen during the transition from the breeding to the non-breeding season. Furthermore, testicular levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen, cyclin D2 and caspase-3 protein were significantly increased in June and September. Intriguingly, positive terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP–digoxigenin nick end-labelling staining and nuclear translocation of caspase-3 in testicular germ cells appeared only during the prehibernation period, whereas accumulation of cyclin D2 in spermatocyte nuclei occurred in September. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, that both cell proliferation and apoptosis are stimulated during the prehibernation period, indicating that a hormonal-regulated balance of testicular germ cell proliferation and apoptosis may play a pivotal role in preparing for testicular recrudescence of wild Daurian ground squirrels.

Additional keywords: seasonal breeding.


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