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The Role of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR Signalling Pathway in Male Reproduction

Author(s):

Chun-yan Deng, Mei Lv, Bin-han Luo, Si-ze Zhao, Zhong-cheng Mo and Yuan-jie Xie*   Pages 1 - 10 ( 10 )

Abstract:


Male fertility is closely related to the normal function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. The testis is an important male reproductive organ that secretes androgen and produces sperm through spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis refers to the process by which spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) produce highly differentiated spermatozoa and is divided into three stages: mitosis, meiosis and spermiogenesis. Spermatogenesis requires SSCs to strike a proper balance between self-renewal and differentiation and the commitment of spermatocytes to meiosis, which involves many molecules and signalling pathways. Abnormal gene expression or signal transduction in the hypothalamus and pituitary, but particularly in the testis, may lead to spermatogenic disorders and male infertility. The phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway is involved in many stages of male reproduction, including the regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad (HPG) axis during spermatogenesis, the proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonia and somatic cells, and the regulation of sperm autophagy and testicular endocrine function in the presence of environmental pollutants, particularly endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signalling pathway, mTOR is considered the central integrator of several signals, regulating metabolism, cell growth and proliferation. In particular, mTOR plays an important role in the maintenance and differentiation of SSCs, as well as in regulating the redox balance and metabolic activity of Sertoli cells, which play an important role in nutritional support during spermatogenesis.

Keywords:

PI3K/AKT/mTOR signalling, HPG axis, Spermatogenesis, Autophagy

Affiliation:

Clinical Anatomy & Reproductive Medicine Application Institute, Department of Histology and Embryology, Hengyang Medical School, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, Clinical Anatomy & Reproductive Medicine Application Institute, Department of Histology and Embryology, Hengyang Medical School, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, Clinical Anatomy & Reproductive Medicine Application Institute, Department of Histology and Embryology, Hengyang Medical School, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, Clinical Anatomy & Reproductive Medicine Application Institute, Department of Histology and Embryology, Hengyang Medical School, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Guilin Medical University , Clinical Anatomy & Reproductive Medicine Application Institute, Department of Histology and Embryology, Hengyang Medical School, University of South China, Hengyang 421001



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