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Mice, homozygous for disrupted ganglioside GM2/GD2 synthase (EC 2.4. 1.94) gene and lacking all complex gangliosides, do not display any major neurologic abnormalities. Further examination of these mutant mice, however, revealed that the males were sterile and aspermatogenic. In the seminiferous tubules of the mutant mice, a number of multinuclear giant cells and vacuolated Sertoli cells were observed. The levels of testosterone in the serum of these mice were very low, although testosterone production equaled that produced in wild-type mice. Testosterone was found to be accumulated in interstitial Leydig cells, and intratesticularly injected testosterone was poorly drained in seminiferous fluid in the mutant mice. These results suggested that complex gangliosides are essential in the transport of testosterone to the seminiferous tubules and bloodstream from Leydig cells. Our results provide insights into roles of gangliosides in vivo.


K Takamiya, A Yamamoto, K Furukawa, J Zhao, S Fukumoto, S Yamashiro, M Okada, M Haraguchi, M Shin, M Kishikawa, H Shiku, S Aizawa, K Furukawa. Complex gangliosides are essential in spermatogenesis of mice: possible roles in the transport of testosterone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1998 Oct 13;95(21):12147-52

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PMID: 9770454

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