The Fas system in the seminiferous epithelium and its possible extra-testicular role

A Riccioli, L Salvati, Alessio D'Alessio, D Starace, C Giampietri, P De Cesaris, A Filippini, E. Ziparo

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

29 Citazioni (Scopus)


The Fas system is involved in the control of immune system homeostasis and nonfunctional Fas system leads to autoimmune disease in mice and humans. The Fas system is a mechanism through which cells expressing Fas ligand (FasL) induce apoptosis of Fas expressing cells. In mouse and rat, the testis represents the main source of constitutive FasL in the body. The roles so far proposed for this molecule in the testis, such as maintenance of immunoprivilege and regulation of physiological germ cell apoptosis, need to be reconsidered as both hypotheses are based on an erroneous cellular location of FasL in the seminiferous epithelium. Recently, we demonstrated that in rodents FasL mRNA is present in germ cells and not in Sertoli cells, and that FasL protein is displayed on the surface of spermatozoa. Here we propose that, for the mouse spermatozoa, the FasL may represent a self-defence mechanism against lymphocytes present in the female genital tract. To verify this hypothesis, we performed crossings between males gld, with nonfunctional FasL, and syngenic or nonsyngenic females. We observed a significant decrease of litter size in outbred crossings with gld males compared with wild-type males, suggesting a possible role of FasL in immunoprotection of the sperm in the female genital tract. The possibility that in humans, by analogy with mouse, FasL plays a self-protective role for the spermatozoon cannot be excluded, and awaits experimental information on the expression of FasL on human sperm cells.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)64-70
Numero di pagine7
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2003


  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD95
  • Apoptosis
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Mice
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Seminiferous Epithelium
  • Spermatozoa
  • Testis


Entra nei temi di ricerca di 'The Fas system in the seminiferous epithelium and its possible extra-testicular role'. Insieme formano una fingerprint unica.

Cita questo