Expression of cytokeratin 10 protein in the human testis showing normal and abnormal spermatogenesis

Ultrastruct Pathol. 2011 Oct;35(5):209-13. doi: 10.3109/01913123.2011.598255.


Background: CK10 is a heterotetramer of type I and two type II keratins.

Aim: This study examines the expression pattern of cytokeratin 10 (CK10) in human testis.

Materials and methods: CK10 protein expression was examined using immunofluorescense staining methods in 30 human testicular biopsy specimens (normal spermatogenesis, maturation arrest and Sertoli cell only syndrome, 10 cases each) obtained from patients undergoing investigations for infertility.

Results: In the testis showing normal spermatogenesis, CK10 was expressed in the interstitium and in the seminiferous tubules. A strong cytoplasmic expression was seen in the Leydig cells, Sertoli cells, and spermatocytes. In testes showing spermatogenic arrest, weak CK10 protein expression was observed both in the interstitium and seminiferous tubules (some primary spermatocytes). In the testes showing Sertoli cell only syndrome, negligible CK10 staining was seen both in the seminiferous tubules and in the interstitial cells of Leydig.

Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study indicating CK10 expression in the human testis during normal and abnormal spermatogenesis. The varied expression of CK10 in testes showing abnormal spermatogenesis suggests its possible involvement in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism
  • Keratin-10 / metabolism*
  • Leydig Cells / metabolism
  • Leydig Cells / pathology
  • Male
  • Sertoli Cells / metabolism
  • Sertoli Cells / pathology
  • Spermatocytes / metabolism
  • Spermatocytes / pathology
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*
  • Testis / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Keratin-10