Neurturin, RET, GFRalpha-1 and GFRalpha-2, but not GFRalpha-3, mRNA are expressed in mice gonads

Cell Tissue Res. 2000 Mar;299(3):409-15. doi: 10.1007/s004419900068.


The gonads are known to produce numerous hormones and also neurotrophins and their receptors. Here we demonstrate expression of glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands and related receptors in adult mice gonads by in situ hybridization. GDNF mRNA was expressed in the ovary, but was not detectable in testis. Neurturin (NTN), another ligand in this family, gave rise to strong mRNA hybridization signals in a mosaic pattern in the seminiferous tubules of the testis at stages IX-XII and I-II of the cycle. NTN mRNA signals were also found in uterus and the oviduct. In testis, the transducing receptor RET as well as GDNF receptor alpha-1 (GFR)alpha-1 and GFRalpha-2 were distributed in complementary and overlapping patterns, the former at stages XI-XII-I and the latter at stages VII and VIII. GFRalpha-3 could not be detected. Expression of these trophic molecules suggests involvement of GDNF family ligands and related receptor components in reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Epididymis / chemistry
  • Epididymis / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Receptors
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics*
  • Neurturin
  • Ovary / chemistry
  • Ovary / physiology*
  • Oviducts / chemistry
  • Oviducts / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor*
  • Uterus / chemistry
  • Uterus / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Gfra3 protein, mouse
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Receptors
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neurturin
  • Nrtn protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Ret protein, Drosophila
  • Ret protein, mouse