Immunohistochemical localization of taurine in the male reproductive organs of the rat

J Histochem Cytochem. 2000 Mar;48(3):313-20. doi: 10.1177/002215540004800301.


The amino acid taurine has been implicated in several aspects of reproductive system physiology. However, its localization in these organs has not been previously analyzed. The aim of this study was to characterize its distribution in male rat reproductive organs by immunohistochemical methods. Taurine was localized in the smooth muscle cells of the tissues studied and in the skeletal fibers of the cremaster muscle. In the testis, taurine was found in Leydig cells, vascular endothelial cells, and other interstitial cells. No immunoreactivity was observed in the cells of the seminiferous tubules, either in germ cells at all spermatogenic stages or in Sertoli cells. However, peritubular myoid cells were immunostained. Most epithelial cells of the efferent ducts were immunolabeled, whereas the epithelial cells of the rete testis (extratesticular segments), epididymis (caput, corpus, and cauda regions), and ductus deferens were unstained. However, most epithelial cells from the intratesticular segments of the rete were immunopositive. Some cells identified as intraepithelial macrophages and lymphocytes, apical cells, and narrow cells were intensely immunolabeled. Regional differences in the distribution of these cell types along the ducts studied were also noted. The possible functional roles for taurine in these cells are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Muscle, Smooth / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Taurine / metabolism*
  • Testis / anatomy & histology
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Vas Deferens / anatomy & histology
  • Vas Deferens / metabolism*


  • Taurine