Expression of Intermediate Filaments in the Developing Testis and Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

María Elena Camacho Moll*, Leendert Looijenga, Roland Donat, C. J. Shukla, Anne Jørgensen, Rod T Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cytokeratin and desmin expression have been associated with Sertoli cell maturity and the development of testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC). Thus, the present study aimed to characterize the expression of these intermediate filaments in normal testis development and TGCC. Cytokeratin and desmin were determined by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence in human fetal, and adult testis and tissue from patients with pre-invasive germ cell neoplasia in-situ (GCNIS) or invasive TGCC. Desmin was expressed in Sertoli cells of the human fetal testis, and the proportion of desmin expressing Sertoli cells was significantly reduced in the second trimester, compared with the first trimester (31.14% vs. 6.74%, p = 0.0016). Additionally, Desmin was expressed in the majority of Sertoli cells in the adult testis and TGCC samples. Cytokeratin was detected in Sertoli cells of human fetal testis but was not expressed in Sertoli cells of human adult testis. In patients with TGCC, cytokeratin was not expressed in Sertoli cells in tubules with active spermatogenesis but was detected in Sertoli cells in tubules containing GCNIS cells in patients with both pre-invasive and invasive TGCC. In conclusion, desmin was not associated with Sertoli cell maturation or progression to TGCC. However, cytokeratin appeared to be an indicator of impaired Sertoli cell maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5479
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages18
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.E.C.M. was funded by a PhD studentship award (CONACYT, Mexico, reference number: 214983) and a University of Edinburgh Charles Darwin Scholarship (reference number s1100244). This project was funded by a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship (Grant no. 098522) awarded to R.T.M. R.T.M. was supported by a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship (MR/S017151/1). This work was undertaken in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health funded by the Grant MR/N022556/1.

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© 2022 by the authors.


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