Angiotensin (1-7) and its receptor Mas are expressed in the human testis: implications for male infertility

J Mol Histol. 2010 Feb;41(1):75-80. doi: 10.1007/s10735-010-9264-8. Epub 2010 Apr 2.


The presence of classical components of the renin-angiotensin system has been demonstrated in the male reproductive tract, mainly in the testes and epididymis. The objective of this study was to verify the localization of angiotensin (Ang)-(1-7) and its receptor Mas in human testis. The study included 12 men with previously proven fertility submitted to orchiectomy for prostate cancer and 20 infertile men submitted to testicular biopsy for infertility work-up, comprising a subgroup with obstructive azoospermia/normal spermatogenesis (n = 8) and another with non-obstructive azoospermia and severely impaired spermatogenesis (n = 12). Testicular tissue samples were processed by immunohistochemistry and real time polymerase chain reaction. Ang-(1-7) was strongly expressed in the interstitial compartment, mainly in Leydig cells, with similar intensity in all groups evaluated. The peptide was also detected in the seminiferous tubules, but with much less intensity compared to interstitial cells. The receptor Mas was equally distributed between interstitial and tubular compartments and was found in all layers of the normal seminiferous epithelium. However, neither Ang-(1-7) nor Mas were detected in the seminiferous tubules of samples with impaired spermatogenesis. The testicular samples of infertile men with impaired spermatogenesis (non-obstructive azoospermia) expressed Mas and ACE2 mRNA at lower concentrations (fold change = 0.06 and 0.04, respectively, P < 0.05) than samples with full spermatogenesis (obstructive azoospermia). This shows, for the first time, the immunolocalization of Ang-(1-7) and its receptor Mas in testes of fertile and infertile men, and suggests that this system may be altered when spermatogenesis is severely impaired.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiotensin I / genetics
  • Angiotensin I / metabolism*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Azoospermia / complications
  • Azoospermia / enzymology
  • Azoospermia / genetics
  • Azoospermia / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / complications
  • Infertility, Male / enzymology
  • Infertility, Male / genetics*
  • Infertility, Male / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism*
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Testis / enzymology
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Testis / pathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Peptide Fragments
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Angiotensin I
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • angiotensin I (1-7)