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

Doxorubicin induces apoptosis in germ line stem cells in the immature rat testis and amifostine cannot protect against this cytotoxicity.

The underlying primary damage to the seminiferous epithelium caused by chemotherapeutic regimens at childhood is largely unknown. The present investigation was designed to identify acute cytotoxic events in the testis caused by a single dose of doxorubicin. Male rats at 6, 16, and 24 days of age were injected with doxorubicin (3 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle (saline) alone and 24 and 48 hours later, the germ cell types and apoptotic cells in the seminiferous epithelium were examined.As indicated by microscopy and terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling staining, an 8-fold increase in the number of apoptotic germ cells in the testes of 6-day-old rats was observed 48 hours after doxorubicin treatment. Spermatogonia migrating to the basement membrane were the primary cell type undergoing this induced apoptosis. A single dose of amifostine (200 mg/kg) administered i.p. 15 minutes before injection of doxorubicin provided no protection against this enhanced apoptosis. Under the same conditions, testicular levels of p53 and activated caspase 8 were elevated, whereas the level of murine double minute-2 was lowered. In contrast, doxorubicin treatment did not result in any significant change in the physiologic, stage-specific germ cell apoptosis occurring in the testes of 16- and 24-day-old rats. These observations suggest that the initiation phase of spermatogenesis is highly sensitive to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Gonocytes and early spermatogonia are the cell types that are vulnerable to this p53-trigged apoptosis, which results in a decrease in the size of the pool of germ-line stem cells. Amifostine fails to protect the germ cells against this cytotoxic insult.[1]


  1. Doxorubicin induces apoptosis in germ line stem cells in the immature rat testis and amifostine cannot protect against this cytotoxicity. Hou, M., Chrysis, D., Nurmio, M., Parvinen, M., Eksborg, S., Söder, O., Jahnukainen, K. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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