Testicles are as unique as men claimed them to be. Earlier researchers discovered that the most productive part of our body isn't the brain but the testicles. No wonder men were always too proud of their gonads. A recent study gave men another reason to boast about it: the study found many similarities between the human brain and the testes.
The human brain is the central control center of the nervous system. It controls our speech, thoughts, memory, movement and overall bodily functions. The signals from sensory organs are translated into helpful information by the brain. In contrast, the human testes are responsible for producing male gametes (sperms) and the production of male sex hormone – testosterone. There is no similarity between the functions of both of these organs. Still, based on DDD and clustering analysis, the human brain and testes have the highest similarity in gene expression patterns. Ribosomal protein genes and the genes involved in cell division, transcription and translation are responsible for this similarity.
Fode M and several other authors proposed that Male Sexual dysfunction and brain disorders are linked to each other, while the study revealed a correlation between intelligence and semen quality. A team of researchers from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, in their research paper, explained the same.
Human Brain and Testes
In this study, the researchers compared the testes and brain proteomes with the proteomes of 31 other tissues, including all the primary tissues in the human body like heart, thyroid gland, lung, stomach, colon etc. For this, they used the Human Protein Atlas (HPA). Similar to gene expression mentioned above, the highest no of common proteins were observed between the brain and testes, which further proves that the brain and testes consist of the most similar tissues in the human body, as explained by the team. Researchers then decided to highlight the highly expressed proteins from 13 442 common proteins between testes and the brain tissues. A total of 29 highly expressed proteins were identified by the researchers in both brain and testes tissues. The team wrote that “The highest expression levels in cerebral cortex and testis suggested that these genes may contribute to phenotypic features that are exclusive of humans, such as the improved cognitive ability”. The study also revealed, around 7% of testis development/function-related proteins were involved in the functional development of the brain.
Wilda Et Al. suggested, “in a hypothetical situation along with placenta and brain; testis could be involved in speciation, which makes these studies and their findings more crucial than ever.” The study proposed that testis seems like a hotspot for the emergence of new genes and the motor of speciation. Another evidence presented that the genes associated with brain and testis functions are undergoing a rampant change, making them the most contrasting genes amongst species.
Human Neurons and Testes
There is a striking difference between human neurons and testis; some evidence reported appalling similarities between them. The neurons are the fundamental units of the brain. They are responsible for sending motor commands to muscles, receiving sensory inputs and relaying, and transforming electrical signals on every step. Even though the activation mechanisms involved are different in both the sperms and neurons, they can activate other cells. Not just that, but there are similarities in their exocytic processes.
Exocytosis helps the materials to move to the exterior of the cell from within the cell. This process only occurs once in sperm as compared to the neuron, which undergoes continuous exocytotic activity. During the study, 13 193 and 6653 sperm proteome and neuronal cells proteome were examined. Out of these, 5048 proteins were similar to each other in human sperm and neuron. This examination shows that both sperm and neuron share some vital signalling pathways.
As the team stated, this subject was under-explored, and it was not of interest to researchers in the past. Thanks to these recent studies for bringing these shocking revelations about the similarities between the brain and the testes to the limelight, which will further help them understand the issues relating to brain functions and testes. It will also help with the development of much needed therapeutic strategies. Just because this study involves testicles doesn’t mean that this doesn’t apply to women; surprisingly, female brains also share these similarities with the testicles.
These conclusions not only apply to humans, but other species of animals might have similar revelations, and scientists may include them in similar research anytime soon in the future. So next time someone jokes about men thinking with their balls, educate them with these facts.