J Vet Sci.  2008 Dec;9(4):339-344. 10.4142/jvs.2008.9.4.339.

Immunohistochemical study of galectin-3 in mature and immature bull testis and epididymis

  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine, Cheju National University, Jeju 690-756, Korea. shint@cheju.ac.kr
  • 2Applied Radiological Science Research Institute, Cheju National University, Jeju 690-756, Korea.
  • 3Veterinary Laboratory, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Jeju 690-962, Korea.
  • 4Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea.
  • 5Department of Veterinary Obstetrics, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Korea.


Galectin-3, a member of the beta-galactoside-binding protein family, has been implicated in mammalian sperm maturation. We examined galectin-3 expression in the testis and epididymis of sexually mature and immature bulls. Western blot analysis showed varying levels of galectin-3 in the bull testis and epididymis, and galectin-3 immunoreactivity was higher in the mature testis and epididymis than in immature organs. Galectin-3 was primarily localized in interstitial cells of the immature bull testis and in the peritubular myoid and interstitial cells of the mature testis. In the immature epididymis head, galectin-3 was primarily in the principal and basal cells of the epithelium. In the mature epididymis head, moderate levels of galectin-3 were detected in the sperm, while low levels were found in the stereocilia, epithelium and connective tissue. In the immature epididymis body, moderate protein levels were detected in the principal cells, while lower levels were found in the basal cells. The mature epididymis body showed moderate levels of galectin-3 immunostaining in the stereocilia and epithelium, but low levels in the connective tissue. In the immature epididymis tail, only low levels of galectin-3 staining were found in the epithelium, whereas the mature epididymis tail showed high levels of galectin-3 in the principal cells, moderate levels in the basal cells and low levels in connective tissue. These findings suggest that galectin-3 expression plays a role in the maturation and activation of sperm in bulls.


bull; epididymis; galectin-3; testis
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