PEPTIDES, vol.17, no.5, pp.817-824, 1996 (SCI-Expanded)
The effect of VIP on mast cell invasion/degranulation in testicular interstitium of stressed (immobilization and cold) and beta-endorphin-treated rats were investigated. Fifty-three Wistar male rats were used in four series of experiments. Initially, the effect of immobilization and cold stress on mast cell invasion and degranulation in testicular interstitium was examined in three age group of rats: 15 (n = 6), 30 (n = 6), and 45 (n = 7) days of age. Five animals per age group were used as controls. Because the most obvious effect of the stress on mast cell invasion/degranulation in testicular interstitium was observed in 45-day-old rats, the action of VIP in stressed and beta-endorphin-treated rats was only investigated at this age group. Mast cells and Leydig cells were evaluated by using histochemical and light microscopic protocols. Stress caused mast cell accumulation and degranulation in the testicular interstitium. Stress decreased heparin synthesis and possibly increased histamine content of mast cells. The effect of beta-endorphin was not as high as seen with stress. In some areas of testicular interstitium of stressed rats, there were aplasic and/or inactive Leydig cells. VIP inhibited proliferation and degranulation of mast cells, increased heparin content of the cells, and protected Leydig cells. By way of mast cell accumulation and degranulation in the testicular interstitium, exposure to stress may lead to Leydig cell damage and infertility. VIP may be involved in the protection of normal testicular function under stress conditions.