Postnatal testis development in the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), with emphasis on spermatogonial stem cells markers and niche.


Laboratory of Cellular Biology, Department of Morphology, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil; National Institute for Amazonian Research, Manaus, AM, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Collared peccaries (Tayassu tajacu) present a unique testis cytoarchitecture, where Leydig cells (LC) are mainly located in cords around the seminiferous tubules (ST) lobes. This peculiar arrangement is very useful to better investigate and understand the role of LC in spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) biology and niche. Recent studies from our laboratory using adult peccaries have shown that the undifferentiated type A spermatogonia (Aund or SSCs) are preferentially located in ST regions adjacent to the intertubular compartment without LC. Following these studies, our aims were to investigate the collared peccary postnatal testis development, from birth to adulthood, with emphasis on the establishment of LC cytoarchitecture and the SSCs niche. Our findings demonstrated that the unique LC cytoarchitecture is already present in the neonate peccary's testis, indicating that this arrangement is established during fetal development. Based on the most advanced germ cell type present at each time period evaluated, puberty (the first sperm release in the ST lumen) in this species was reached at around one year of age, being preceded by high levels of estradiol and testosterone and the end of Sertoli cell proliferation. Almost all gonocytes and SSCs expressed Nanos1, Nanos2 and GFRA1. The analysis of SSCs preferential location indicated that the establishment of SSCs niche is coincident with the occurrence of puberty. Taken together, our findings reinforced and extended the importance of the collared peccary as an animal model to investigate testis function in mammals, particularly the aspects related to testis organogenesis and the SSCs biology and niche.


Collared peccary,Leydig cell,Puberty,Sertoli cell,Spermatogonial stem cell niche,Testis development,