Developmental expression of heat shock proteins 60, 70, 90, and A2 in rabbit testis.
Currently, no reports exist concerning the expression patterns and developmental changes of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in the reproductive system of the male rabbit. In the present study, the testes of rabbits were collected at post-natal months 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 40. HSP60, HSC70, HSP90, and HSPA2 were detected by both Western blot and immunohistochemical methods. The expression levels of HSP60 and HSC70 showed no apparent change during the developmental progress. HSP90 increased at the second month; prior to the third month, HSPA2 was expressed at a low level. Immunohistochemistry localized HSP60 in the cytoplasm of all of the cell types in the testis and in the apical pole of the spermatids. The distribution pattern of HSC70 and HSP90 was similar, both being mainly located in the spermatids of stage VII-VIII and in the cytoplasm of the spermatogonium. HSPA2 staining was mainly observed in the cytoplasm of pachytene spermatocytes and spermatids in testes of 3-, 4-, 5-, and 40-month-old rabbits. These results provide a basic reference point for studying the functions of HSPs in the male rabbit reproductive system and should be beneficial for the future determination of the mechanisms of heat shock on male rabbit fertility.