Autophagy is a pro-survival mechanism involving lysosomal degradation of damaged cellular components following multiple forms of cellular stress. There is currently a lack of literature on the mechanism, and specifically on mitophagy (selective autophagy of damaged pro-apoptotic mitochondria) in Sertoli cells (SCs). Against such a background, the authors induced mitophagy in SCs of adult male rats using a single injection of ethanol (5 g/kg) and observed mitophagy in the SCs via transmission electron microscopy 24 hr later. In addition, we briefly discussed the possible clinical implications of enhanced autophagy and mitophagy in stressed SCs in our model and in other models of acute stress (e.g., heat and transplantation stress). Further studies on SC autophagy are required, as a full understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling autophagy in stressed SCs may have therapeutic implications for infertility treatment.
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