Research Article| Volume 54, ISSUE 4, P515-521, April 2005

Metabolism of amino acids by cultured rat Sertoli cells


      Sertoli cells support spermatogenesis both spatially and energetically; for this reason, these cells have important adaptations. The energetic metabolism of Sertoli cells was adapted to provide lactate and pyruvate to developing germ cells, because these substrates are essential for spermatocytes and spermatids. In this study, we investigated whether Sertoli cells use alanine, leucine, valine, and glycine as energetic substrates and whether the simultaneous addition of other nutrients, such as glucose and glutamine, might affect the metabolism of these amino acids. Alanine, leucine, valine, and glutamine are almost totally oxidized to CO2 by these cells. In contrast, glycine has been demonstrated to be a poor energetic substrate, being mainly incorporated into proteins, and their metabolism did not change in the presence of palmitic acid, glucose, and/or glutamine. The metabolism of the 3 other amino acids was modified by palmitic acid; besides, glucose changed alanine, leucine, and valine oxidation. Glutamine decreased the oxidation of alanine, leucine, and valine to CO2. Conversely, both alanine and leucine decreased the oxidation of glutamine. Our present findings show that Sertoli cells can adapt its energy metabolism to the oxidative substrates available to fulfill their role in spermatogenic energetic supply.
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