In most vertebrates, hermaphroditism results in infertility. However, hermaphroditism occurs in 6% of teleosts, which primarily undergo protogyny. Here, to elucidate the transient stage from gonochorism to hermaphroditism, juvenile black porgies as a model animal were fed a diet containing estradiol (E2) for 3 mo, followed by withdrawal of E2 treatment. The E2-terminated fish had ectopically located oocytes in the regenerated testes. Antimüllerian hormone (amh) was strongly expressed in the Sertoli cells with type A spermatogonia and follicle cells with vitellogenic oocytes. Amh was robustly expressed in the ectopic oocytes-bordering region of regenerated testes and in testes with nonsynchronous spermatogenesis. This Amh was released by Sertoli cells and aggregated in the area containing type A spermatogonia in the ectopic oocytes-bordering region. Our in vitro results show that exogenous recombinant Amh (rAmh) can inhibit type A spermatogonia proliferation in the testis but not oogonia proliferation in the ovary. We suggest that Amh-arrested spermatogonia A may act as a boundary to block intercellular communication (i.e., prevent peptide factors released from female tissue to alter the sexual fate of type A spermatogonia) and further inhibit female growth. These results suggest that black porgy can prevent ectopic female growth in the testis and maintain male function of the digonic gonad (testes and ovary separated by the connective tissue) through Amh action. This function of amh might shed light on why the majority of syngonic fish undergo protogyny (female-to-male sex change).
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Vol. 92 • No. 6