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Estrogenic regulation of male reproductive function
Portugal ( PorMSIC) - University Beira Interior, Covilha
CICS-UBI - Health Sciences Research Centre
Prof. Ana Paula Duarte
Prof. Silvia Socorro and Doctor Sara Correia
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
The role of estrogens in male reproductive function has been a matter of controversy over the last years. Studies from mice and men with inability to synthesize estrogens have described altered testis size, increased apoptosis of germ cells, oligozoospermia and/or reduced sperm motility, which indicates that these sex steroid hormones are required for successful spermatogenesis and male fertility. On the contrary, it is known that exposure to estrogens or estrogen-mimicking compounds adversely affects spermatogenesis and hampers the reproductive potential of adults. Moreover, increased production of estrogens seems to be associated with spermatogenetic failure and thus male infertility, since increased levels of 17-estradiol have been detected in the peripheral blood, spermatic vein and seminal plasma of idiopathic infertile patient. However, the link between estrogenic dysfunction and human male infertility has not been found.
What is the aim of the project?
The present project aims to establish the relationship between hyperestrogenism, damage of germ cell and Sertoli cells populations, and male infertility. Since sperm maturation and the ability to fertilize oocyte is achieved in the epididymis, this project also aims to explore the effect of estrogens on the epididymal function.
What techniques and methods are used?
Tissue/ Cell culture, cell viability/apoptosis assays, RNA/protein extraction, cDNA synthesis, Real-time PCR, Western Blot, Enzymatic activity assays.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will assist research group members and, whenever appropriate, would perform some independent laboratory work in the following techniques: tissue/ Cell culture, cell viability/apoptosis assays, RNA/protein extraction, cDNA synthesis, Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Western Blot, Enzyme activity assays
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
The student will be asked to read articles related to the topic, mainly those published by the host research group, and to attend the seminars scheduled at the CICS-UBI or FCS.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
It is expected he/she demonstrate capacity for adapting to new situations, sense of responsibility and the acquisition of the laboratory skills.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system - Students in biomedical fields
- J.E. Cavaco; S.S. Laurentino; A. Barros; M. Sousa; S. Socorro; Estrogen receptors alpha and beta in human testis: both isoforms are expressed; Systems biology in reproductive medicine 55 (2009) 137-144.
- S. Correia; M.R. Alves; J.E. Cavaco; P.F. Oliveira; S. Socorro; Estrogenic regulation of testicular expression of stem cell factor and c-kit: implications in germ cell survival and male fertility; Fertility and sterility (2014) 299-306.
- S. Correia; H.J. Cardoso; J.E. Cavaco; S. Socorro; Estrogens as apoptosis regulators in mammalian testis: angels or devils? ; Expert Rev Mol Med 17 (2015) e2
- P.F. Oliveira; M.G. Alves; A.D. Martins; S. Correia; R.L. Bernardino; J. Silva; A. Barros; M. Sousa; J.E. Cavaco; S. Socorro; Expression pattern of G protein-coupled receptor 30 in human seminiferous tubular cells; General and comparative endocrinology 201 (2014) 16-20.
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