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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relaxin-like factor (RLF) serum concentrations and gubernaculum RLF receptor display in relation to pre- and neonatal development of rats.

Deletion of the relaxin-like factor (RLF) gene in mice causes retention of testicles and infertility. The development of a synthetic RLF has made it possible to investigate the events that connect the genomic event and the basic biological responses that cause gonadal positioning. Anti-RLF antibodies were raised against synthetic RLF, allowing determination of RLF concentrations during the critical period, testing for RLF receptors on the gubernaculum and exploration of the temporal relationship between receptor display and migration of the testes in developing rats. In male rat pups, serum RLF concentrations were high at day 2 before parturition (2.4 ng ml(-1)) and decreased sharply just before parturition. Thereafter, males and females had the same low serum concentrations until RLF concen-trations began to increase in males only, starting at day 10 after parturition and continuing until adult RLF concentrations (0.6 ng ml(-1)) were reached on day 39 after parturition. The testicles are descending into the scrotum during this phase of increasing RLF concentrations and are descended fully by day 19-21 after parturition, before adult hormone concentrations are established. The high prenatal serum RLF concentration coincides with high expression of RLF receptors in the gubernaculum tissue. Competitive binding of RLF per mg of membrane protein prepared from rat gubernacula at various developmental stages showed no increase in receptor density as sexual maturity was reached. Gubernaculum cells in primary culture showed an increased uptake of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine in the presence of RLF compared with controls. These studies demonstrate that the synthetic RLF is biologically active and indicate that the cryptorchid phenotype INSL3(-/-) is a direct consequence of defective gubernaculum growth, caused by the absence of RLF during early phases of development.[1]


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