Expression of the transmembrane carbonic anhydrases, CA IX and CA XII, in the human male excurrent ducts

Mol Hum Reprod. 2001 Jul;7(7):611-6. doi: 10.1093/molehr/7.7.611.


Testicular fluid is concentrated and acidified during its passage through the excurrent ducts. These processes involve bicarbonate absorption, in which carbonic anhydrases are implicated. In this study, the distribution of two transmembrane carbonic anhydrase isozymes (CA IX and CA XII) in the human excurrent ducts was investigated using isozyme-specific antibodies in conjunction with immunohistochemical and immunoblotting techniques. Specific staining for CA XII was present in the basolateral plasma membrane of the epithelial cells in the efferent ducts, predominantly in the non-ciliated cells. In the epididymal duct, CA XII was detected only in sporadic cells, which also contained CA II, thus suggesting that they are apical mitochondria-rich cells. CA IX was also localized to the basolateral plasma membrane of the epithelium in the efferent ducts, but its staining was weaker and less uniform compared to CA XII. No signal for CA IX was detected in the epididymal duct. Western blot analysis from efferent duct samples revealed specific bands for CA IX and CA XII, confirming that the immunohistochemical stainings represent these isozymes. The expression of CA XII and CA IX in the excurrent duct system and co-expression of CA XII with Aquaporin-1 in the same efferent duct epithelial cells suggest their functional involvement in ion transport and concentration processes of testicular fluid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Vas Deferens / enzymology*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Carbonic Anhydrases