Changes in plasma gonadotropins, inhibin and testosterone concentrations and testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression during testicular active, regressive and recrudescent phase in the captive Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus)
Iibuchi, R.; Kamine, A.; Shimozuru, M.; Nio-Kobayashi, J.; Watanabe, G.; Taya, K.; Tsubota, T.
Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research 57(4): 185-196
ISSN/ISBN: 0047-1917 PMID: 20364791 Accession: 052010991
Male Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) have an explicit reproductive cycle. The objective of this study was to clarify the variation of plasma testosterone, FSH, inhibin, LH levels and testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression of male bears associated with their testicular activity. Notably, this study investigated peripheral FSH concentration and localization of gonadotropin receptor mRNAs for the first time in male bears. Blood and testicular tissue samples were taken from captive, mature, male Japanese black bears during testicular active, regressive and recrudescent phases. Plasma hormone concentrations were measured by immunoassays, and gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression in the testis was investigated by in situ hybridization technique and also by real-time PCR. There were significant variations in plasma testosterone and inhibin concentrations. Changes in FSH concentration preceded these hormones with a similar tendency. Hormones started to increase during denning, and achieved the highest values at the end of the recrudescent phase for FSH and in the active phase for testosterone and inhibin. These changes in hormone concentrations were accompanied by testicular growth. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that FSH and LH receptor mRNA was possibly expressed in Sertoli cells and Leydig cells, respectively, as they are in other mammals. However, neither plasma LH concentration nor testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression level varied significantly among the sampling months. These results suggest that FSH, inhibin and testosterone have roles in testicular activity in male bears. This study provides important endocrine information for comprehending seasonal reproductivity in male Japanese black bears.