The role of Dickkopf-3 (Dkk3)/REIC (The Reduced Expression in Immortalized Cells), a Wntsignaling inhibitor, in male reproductive physiology remains unknown thus far. To explore the functional details of Dkk3/REIC in the male reproductive process, we studied the Dkk3/REIC knockout (KO) mouse model. By examining testicular sections and investigating the sperm characteristics (count, vitality and motility) and ultrastructure, we compared the reproductive features between Dkk3/REIC-KO and wild-type (WT) male mice. To further explore the underlying molecular mechanism, we performed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of testicular tissues. Our results showed that spermiation failure existed in seminiferous tubules of Dkk3/REIC-KO mice, and sperm from Dkk3/REIC-KO mice exhibited inferior motility (44.09 ± 8.12% vs. 23.26 ± 10.02%, p < 0.01). The Ultrastructure examination revealed defects in the sperm fibrous sheath of KO mice. Although the average count of Dkk3/REIC-KO epididymal sperm was less than that of the wild-types (9.30 ± 0.69 vs. 8.27 ± 0.87, ×106), neither the gap (p > 0.05) nor the difference in the sperm vitality rate (72.83 ± 1.55% vs. 72.50 ± 0.71%, p > 0.05) were statistically significant. The RNA-seq and GO (Gene Oncology) enrichment results indicated that the differential genes were significantly enriched in the GO terms of cytoskeleton function, cAMP signaling and calcium ion binding. Collectively, our research demonstrates that Dkk3/REIC is involved in the process of spermiation, fibrous sheath integrity maintenance and sperm motility of mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number285
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Dkk3/REIC
  • Fibrous sheath
  • Knock-out
  • RNA-seq
  • Sperm motility
  • Spermiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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