Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

Morphology and immunolocalization of intertubular steroidogenic cell in mesonephros of Podocnemis expansa during gonadal differentiation

Luã Barbalho de Macêdo; Marcela dos Santos Magalhães; Lucas Castanhola Dias; Khelven Klay de Azevedo Lemos; Ryshely Sonaly de Moura Borges; Márcia Viviane Alves Saraiva; Moacir Franco de Oliveira; Antônio Chaves de Assis Neto; Carlos Eduardo Bezerra de Moura

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Sex steroid hormones are critical in gonadal differentiation in turtles. The gonads are not the only organs responsible for producing these hormones during this phase. Mesonephros play an important role in steroidogenesis. The present study aimed to investigate the presence of steroidogenic cells in mesonephros of Podocnemis expansa during gonadal differentiation and to evaluate their morphology and ultrastructure. Ten embryos of P. expansa were collected from 5 nests on day 36 of incubation, during spawning period on an artificial beach. Embryos were extracted from eggs by slicing the shell and euthanized. They were dissected under a stereoscopic microscope to collect the gonad-mesonephro complex, in which were fixed and subsequently processed for light microscopy, immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy analysis. During histological analysis was observed mesonephros has typical morphological structure. Immunohistochemistry showed immunoreaction to aromatase in cells of intertubular space. Confirming these findings, it was possible to observe a type of intertubular cell in several regions of mesonephro, being more predominant in region close to blood vessels, distal and proximal tubules. In ultrastructural analysis these cells were characterized by having a clear, large, and rounded nucleus with evident nucleolus and cytoplasm rich in electron-dense droplets. This study demonstrated for the first time the presence of cells with morphological, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural characteristics similar to steroid-producing cells in P. expansa mesonephrons, suggesting that this organ may contribute to gonadal differentiation in this species.


aromatase, sex determination, turtle, reproduction


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