This study was conducted to elucidate the involvement of the PINK1-Parkin pathway in ethanol-induced mitophagy among Sertoli cells (SCs). In the research, adult rats were given intraperitoneal injections of ethanol (5 gm/kg) and sacrificed at various time periods within 24 h. Transmission electron microscopy was applied to reveal enhanced mitochondrial damage in SCs of the ethanol-treated rats (ETRs) in association with a significant increase in numbers of mitophagic vacuoles (mitophagosomes and autolysosomes) in contrast to very low levels in a control group treated with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). This enhancement was ultra-structurally verified via observation of trapped mitochondria within LC3-labeled membranes, upregulation of LC3 protein levels, colocalization of LC3 and cytochrome c, and reduced expression of mitochondrial proteins. Importantly, Parkin expression was found to be upregulated in ETR SCs, specifically in mitochondria and mitophagosomes in addition to colocalization with PINK1 and pan-cathepsin, indicating augmented mitophagy. Transcription factor EB (TFEB, a transcription factor for autophagy and mitophagy proteins) was also found to be upregulated in nuclei of ETR SCs and associated with enhanced expression of iNOS. Enhanced Parkin-related mitophagy in ETR SCs may be a protective mechanism with therapeutic implications. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the ultrastructural characteristics and molecular mechanisms of Parkin-related mitophagy in ETR SCs.
- Sertoli cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas