Research Assistant Professor
Department of Anatomy & Physiology, Kansas State University
D.V.M., Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil, 1999
Postdoctoral, Kansas State University, 2004-2008
Male Reproductive Tract Pathophysiology
Sperm cells are immunogenic and, despite this, spend several days in the mammalian male body to mature and acquire fertilizing capacity. This occurs while sperm transit through the lumen of the male excurrent system. This duct system is composed by the efferent ducts, epididymis and vas deferens and is lined by epithelial cells carrying out an array of secretory and absorptive mechanisms. In addition, antigen presenting cells (APCs) of the immune system are in close contact with male duct epithelia. While epithelial cell function is required for successful sperm maturation, maintenance of adequate duct structure and fertility, the roles of APCs in the male duct system is poorly understood. My research program is focused on mechanisms that are carried out by these epithelia and APCs and are, as we hypothesize, required for immunotolerance to sperm. Specifically, we are studying the roles of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) in these tissues. My laboratory has determined that TGFβ-signaling occurs in both male duct epithelia and APCs and that it is required for immunotolerance to sperm. Murine animal models are employed to understand how disruptions in TGFβ-signaling lead to infertility associated with antisperm antibodies and leukocytospermia.
Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling is known to induce renal fibrosis. Our work is generating evidence to support the novel concept that in vivo increases in TGFβ-signaling also leads to renal cystic disease. Importantly, human patients presenting Marfan syndrome have systemic increases in TGFβ-signaling and develop significantly more (and more rapidly) renal cysts than the general population.
Pierucci-Alves F, Yi S, Schultz BD. Transforming Growth Factor Beta 1 Induces Tight Junction Disruptions and Loss of Transepithelial Resistance Across Porcine Vas Deferens Epithelial Cells. Biol Reprod 86: 36, 1-8, 2012.
Pierucci-Alves F, Akoyev V, Stewart JC 3rd, Wang LH, Janardhan K, Schultz BD. Swine models of cystic fibrosis reveal male reproductive tract phenotype at birth. Biol Reprod 85:442-51, 2011.
Ferrer MS, Lutjemeier BJ, Koopman T, Pierucci-Alves F, Weiss ML. Xenogeneic transplantation of equine testicular cells into seminiferous tubules of immunocompetent rats. Theriogenology 75:1258-64, 2011.
Pierucci-Alves F, Duncan CL, Lillich JD, Schultz BD. Porcine vas deferens luminal pH is acutely increased by systemic xylazine administration. Biol Reprod 82: 132-135, 2010.
Pierucci-Alves F, Duncan CL, Schultz BD. Testosterone upregulates anion secretion across porcine vas deferens epithelia in vitro. Biol Reprod 81: 628-635, 2009.
Pierucci-Alves F, Schultz BD. Bradykinin-stimulated cyclooxygenase activity stimulates vas deferens epithelial anion secretion in vitro in swine and humans. Biol Reprod 79: 501-509, 2008.
Carlin RW, Sedlacek RL, Quesnell R, Pierucci-Alves F, Grieger DM, Schultz BD. PVD9902, a porcine vas deferens epithelial cell line that exhibits neurotransmitter-stimulated anion secretion and expresses numerous HCO3--transporters. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 290: 1560-1571, 2006.
Schmahl J, Yao HH, Pierucci-Alves F, Capel B. Colocalization of WT1 and cell proliferation reveals conserved mechanisms in temperature-dependent sex determination. Genesis 35 (4): 193-201, 2003.
Pierucci-Alves F, Clark AM, Russell LD. A Developmental study of the Desert Hedgehog-null mouse testis. Biol Reprod 65: 1392-1402, 2001.
Fernando Pierucci-Alves, D.V.M.
Research Assistant Professor