Fetal Leydig cells (FLCs) and adult Leydig cells (ALCs) develop in the mammalian prenatal and postnatal testes, respectively. In mice, FLCs emerge in the interstitial space of the testis as early as embryonic day 12.5 and thereafter increase in number during the fetal stage. We previously established a transgenic mouse line in which FLCs are labeled with EGFP and demonstrated that the EGFP-labeled FLCs were present even in adult testes. However, the characteristics of FLCs during postnatal stages remained unclear. In the present study, a comparison of the transcriptomes of FLCs from prenatal and postnatal testes and of ALCs from adult testes revealed that FLCs gradually alter their characteristics across developmental stages and come to roughly resemble ALCs. Many cholesterogenic genes simultaneously expressed a unique alternation pattern, while many oxidative phosphorylation and β-oxidation (both mitochondrial functions) genes showed a different unique pattern. These metabolic gene expression alterations might be triggered by milieu changes, such as nutrient and oxygen supply, from the prenatal to the postnatal period.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Developmental Biology