Estrogen receptor, Estrogen, Epididymis, GPER, Rat





Estrogen plays an important role in male reproduction, and males lacking estrogen signaling in the reproductive tissues are infertile. Estrogen signaling is mediated via two nuclear receptors, ERα and ERβ, but it was recently found that a G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) is present in the testis. It is believed that GPER is a membrane form of the estrogen receptor and mediates non-classical estrogen signaling. However, the cellular localization of GPER in the epididymis is unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the cellular and regional expression of GPER in the rat epididymis.


To localize expression, immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed using fixed epididymal tissue. Three strains and ages of rats were used to identify whether GPER expression is strain or age specific. Our results are the first to demonstrate immunostaining of GPER in epididymal epithelial cells. Expression was highest near the apical membrane followed by the cytoplasm, consistent with a membrane bound receptor. The highest expression in adult rats was observed in corpus followed by cauda. Western blotting analysis of epididymal tissues from Sprague Dawley rats confirmed specificity of the antibody and regional expression.


Expression of GPER in the corpus and cauda suggests a role for non-classical estrogen signaling in sperm maturation in the corpus, and sperm protection/storage in the cauda. GPER expression pre-pubertally suggests that estrogen may have a role in epithelial cell development in addition to regulation of adult function.


Published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. License Agreement.

Original Citation

Martínez-Traverso, G. B., & Pearl, C. A. (2015). Immunolocalization of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor in the rat epididymis. Reproductive Biology & Endocrinology, 13(1), 1–8.

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