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Kansas State University



Deryl Troyer



Fernando Pierucci-Alves,

DVM, Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil, 1999

Research Assistant Professor
Coles Hall 138
Phone: (785) 532-4526


Research interests

Sperm cells mature and acquire fertilizing capacity while transiting through the lumen of the male excurrent duct. 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, cells of the immune system such as antigen presenting  cells (APCs) are in close contact with epithelial cells of the male duct. While epithelial cell function is required for successful sperm maturation, maintenance of adequate duct structure and fertility, the interaction of epithelia and APCs are thought to regulate immunotolerance to sperm, which is also required for fertility. My research programs are currently focused to address the following mechanisms that are relevant to human and animal reproductive health:

  1. Cellular signaling regulated by growth factors, specifically transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), which take place at both epithelia and APCs and are relevant to proper immunotolerance to sperm. Murine animal models are employed to understand how disruptions in these cellular signaling mechanisms lead to infertility associated with antisperm antibodies and leukocytospermia, and to identify novel therapeutic interventions.

  2. Developmental (in utero) pathogenesis of male duct atresia that occurs downstream from mutations in CFTR. This gene encodes the chloride and bicarbonate ion channel that is mutated in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). While CF patients present life-threating respiratory and digestive symptoms, nearly all men carrying two mutated CFTR copies present male duct atresia. Porcine and rat models of CF are employed to understand how duct atresia occurs, and to identify therapeutic opportunities.


Selected Publications:

Yi S, Pierucci-Alves F, Schultz BD. Transforming growth factor beta1 impairs CFTR-mediated anion secretion across cultured porcine vas deferens epithelial monolayer via the p38 MAPK pathway. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol, 305: C867-76, 2013.

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.