Cellular Distribution, Regulated Expression, and Functional Role of the Anorexigenic Peptide, NUCB2/Nesfatin-1, in the Testis

Garcia-Galiano D., Pineda R., Ilhan T., Castellano J. M. , Ruiz-Pino F., Sanchez-Garrido M. A. , ...More

ENDOCRINOLOGY, vol.153, no.4, pp.1959-1971, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 153 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1210/en.2011-2032
  • Journal Name: ENDOCRINOLOGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1959-1971
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Nesfatin-1, product of the precursor NEFA/nucleobindin2 (NUCB2), was initially identified as anorectic hypothalamic neuropeptide, acting in a leptin-independent manner. In addition to its central role in the control of energy homeostasis, evidence has mounted recently that nesfatin-1 is also produced in peripheral metabolic tissues, such as pancreas, adipose, and gut. Moreover, nesfatin-1 has been shown to participate in the control of body functions gated by whole-body energy homeostasis, including puberty onset. Yet, whether, as is the case for other metabolic neuropeptides, NUCB2/nesfatin-1 participates in the direct control of gonadal function remains unexplored. Wedocument here for the first time the expression ofNUCB2mRNAin rat, mouse, and human testes, where NUCB2/nesfatin-1 protein was identified in interstitial mature Leydig cells. Yet in rats, NUCB2/nesfatin-1becameexpressed in Sertoli cellsuponLeydig cell eliminationandwas also detected in Leydig cell progenitors. Although NUCB2 mRNA levels did not overtly change in rat testis during pubertal maturation and after short-term fasting, NUCB2/nesfatin-1 content significantly increased along the puberty-to-adult transition and was markedly suppressed after fasting. In addition, testicular NUCB2/nesfatin-1 expression was up-regulated by pituitary LH, because hypophysectomy decreased, whereas human choriogonadotropin (super-agonist of LH receptors) replacement enhanced, NUCB2/nesfatin-1 mRNA and peptide levels. Finally, nesfatin-1 increased human choriogonadotropin-stimulated testosterone secretion by rat testicular explants ex vivo. Our data are the first to disclose the presence and functional role of NUCB2/nesfatin-1 in the testis, where its expression is regulated by developmental, metabolic, and hormonal cues as well as by Leydig cell-derived factors. Our observations expand the reproductive dimension of nesfatin-1, which may operate directly at the testicular level to link energy homeostasis, puberty onset, and gonadal function. (Endocrinology 153: 1959-1971, 2012)