Morphology of the epididymal region and ductus deferens of the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
The ductal system of the reproductive tract of the male domestic turkey was studied by gross dissection and light microscopy of paraffin and Epon embedded tissues. The succession of ductules as one passes caudally from the testis was as follows: seminiferous tubules; rete testis; ductuli efferentes; connecting ductules; ductus epididymidis; ductus deferens; receptaculum ductus deferentis; papilla ductus deferentis. Non-ciliated cells of the male tract consisted of squamous and low cuboidal cells of the rete testis, granulated columnar cells lining the ductuli efferentes and connective ductules; agranulated columnar cells which formed the epithelium of the ductus epididymidis, ductus deferens, receptaculum and papilla ductus deferentis; and basal cells which were found in increasing number from the ductuli efferentes to the papilla. The basal cells had a reduced amount of cytoplasm and stained more intensely than the other cell types. Ciliated cells were apparent in the ductuli efferentes and connecting ductules, and these consistently stained lighter than the non-ciliated cells. Non-ciliated columnar cells of the ductuli efferentes and connecting ductules contained chromatophilic granules. Cytoplasmic blebbing into the ductal lumina was found associated with these non-ciliated cells as well as the agranular cells of the ductus epididymidis and deferens. Evidence obtained from this study suggests that the non-ciliated cells of the ductuli efferentes, ductus epididymidis and ductus deferens have a contribution to make to the seminal plasma by apocrine secretion. (+info)
Galactosyltransferase, pyrophosphatase and phosphatase activities in luminal plasma of the cauda epididymidis and in the rete testis fluid of some mammals.
Galactosyltransferase activity was measured in the luminal plasma of the cauda epididymidis of mice, rats, rabbits, rams and boars, and in the rete testis fluid of rams and boars. The activities of nucleotide pyrophosphatase and alkaline phosphatase, which compete with galactosyltransferase for substrate, were also determined. In these species, galactosyltransferase activity in the luminal plasma of the cauda epididymidis was similar when the inhibitory effect of pyrophosphatase and phosphatase was minimized by assay conditions. However, under assay conditions that did not minimize the effect of these enzymes, the galactosyltransferase activities of these species were very different and were inversely correlated with the activities of pyrophosphatase and phosphatase. The ratio of galactosyltransferase activity to pyrophosphatase and phosphatase activity was much higher in the rete testis fluid than in the luminal plasma of the cauda epididymidis in both rams and boars. In rams, galactosyltransferase in the luminal plasma of the cauda epididymidis was more heat resistant than that in serum. These results suggest that there is a species difference in the availability of galactosyltransferase activity in the luminal plasma of the cauda epididymidis and that in some species, galactosyltransferase in the luminal fluid is unlikely to have any function. The results are also discussed with respect to the possible function of galactosyltransferase, pyrophosphatase and phosphatase in epididymal luminal plasma and rete testis fluid. (+info)
Postnatal differentiation of the ductus deferens, tail of the epididymis, and distal body of the epididymis in goats occurs independently of rete testis fluid.
Observations from extratesticular rete-ligated, mature goats indicated that epithelial morphology in the tail of the epididymis can be maintained without any input from testicular fluid (Goyal et al., Acta Anat., 1994;150: 127-135). Hence, the objective of this study was to determine whether the tail of the epididymis and/or other regions of the male excurrent ducts can differentiate prior to the appearance of lumen in the seminiferous tubules, which is an indicator for the onset of seminiferous tubular fluid secretion. Based on age and scrotal circumference (SC), 20 male goats were divided into four groups of five animals each: 1-4 weeks (SC, 6.5-7.5 cm), 7-10 weeks (SC, 8.5-11.0 cm), 12-15 weeks (SC, 11.0-14.0 cm), and 15-25 weeks (SC, 16.0-19.0 cm). Tissues were collected from the testis, six regions of the epididymis (proximal, middle and distal head; proximal and distal body; and tail), and the ductus deferens, and were processed for light and electron microscopic examination. Changes in epithelial height and cytological features associated with absorption (microvilli, pinocytotic and coated vesicles) and protein secretion (RER, Golgi body) were used as markers for differentiation. Differentiation of all of these features was comparable to that observed in the 15-25-week-old animals in the ductus deferens by > or = 1 week, in the tail of the epididymis by > or = 7 weeks, in the distal body of the epididymis by > or = 12 weeks, and in the proximal body of the epididymis and all three regions of the head of the epididymis by > or = 15 weeks. Seminiferous tubules developed lumens between 12 and 15 weeks. In conclusion, epithelial differentiation in the ductus deferens, tail of the epididymis, and distal body of the epididymis follows a time-dependent, spatial, ascending order and is achieved before lumen formation in the seminiferous tubules. Conversely, epithelial differentiation in all three regions of the head and the proximal body of the epididymis occurs simultaneously and after lumen formation in the seminiferous tubules. (+info)
Postnatal differentiation of efferent ductule epithelium in goats: a light microscopic and ultrastructural study.
Caprine efferent ductule epithelium contains ciliated and nonciliated cells. The latter cells are divided into three types: type II cells contain PAS-positive granules, type III cells contain PAS-negative vacuoles, and type I cells lack both granules and vacuoles (Goyal and Williams, Anat. Rec. 220:58-67). The objectives of this study are i) to determine when the epithelium differentiates into ciliated and nonciliated cells, ii) to determine when nonciliated cells acquire characteristics typical for type II and type III cells, and iii) to relate developmental changes in the epithelium with those in the testis. Testes and efferent ductules were examined at the light and electron microscopic levels in goats from 1-25 weeks of age. Efferent ductule epithelium contained ciliated and nonciliated cells as early as week 1. While ciliated cells were differentiated at week 1, differentiation of nonciliated cells did not occur until week > or =15. Differential features in ciliated cells included the presence of cilia at the apical border and an aggregation of mitochondria in the apical cytoplasm. Those in nonciliated cells included the presence of i) an endocytotic apparatus at week > or =15, ii) PAS-positive granules at week > or =15, and iii) PAS-negative vacuoles at week > or =25. The seminiferous tubules developed lumens at 12-15 weeks. Hence, while differentiation of ciliated cells occurred much before lumen formation in the seminiferous tubules, that of nonciliated cells coincided with, or occurred soon after, lumen formation, suggesting a role for testicular fluid contents in their differentiation. The goat efferent ductules can be characterized morphologically mature by 25 weeks. (+info)
Evidence that luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone statin from ovine rete testis fluid is immunologically related to alphaC inhibin.
LHRH Statin is a putative gonadal protein that increases the interval between two consecutive LHRH pulses. The present work was aimed at analyzing the immunological homology between LHRH Statin and the N-terminal region of the alphaC subunit of inhibin. Thus, rete testis fluid (RTF) proteins were purified by immunoaffinity chromatography using antibodies against residues 1-7 plus 7-30 (experiment 1, A-fractions) and 14-28 of the alphaC inhibin subunit (experiment 2, B-fractions), and the LHRH Statin activity of the fractions was examined by intracerebroventricular administration in castrated rams followed by RIA of plasma LH levels in 15-min blood samples. Fractions that bound to the immunoaffinity column with low affinity were eluted with 0.5 M NaCl, pH 7.4 (-F2); then highly bound fractions were eluted sequentially in acidic (pH 2.5, -F3) followed by basic conditions (pH 11.5, -F4). In experiment 1, RTF (40 microg, n = 4) and highly bound fractions (A-F3, 30 ng, n = 8, 150 ng, n = 3; A-F4, 120 ng, n = 5) decreased LH mean plasma levels between 4 and 6 h after injection by 39%, 29%, 43%, and 37%, respectively (P<0.001 to 0.01), while the weakly bound fractions (A-F2, 180 ng, n = 4) and albumin control (40 microg, n = 4) had no activity. In experiment 2, RTF (100 microg, n = 4) and B-F3 (100 ng, n = 3) decreased plasma LH levels by 48% and 38%, respectively (P<0.001 to 0.05), whereas B-F4 (100 ng, n = 4) and albumin control (100 microg, n = 4) had no effect. A fraction obtained from B-F3 by gel filtration had significant LHRH Statin activity (63%, n = 6, P<0.001). PAGE with colloidal gold staining revealed 3 high molecular weight bands and 5 low molecular weight bands in B-F3. The 3 high molecular weight bands were shown to belong to the clusterin family and did not appear to have LHRH Statin activity. The 5 low molecular weight bands were all labeled by anti-alphaC inhibin antibodies. Collectively, these results strongly suggest that LHRH Statin has some homology with the 14-28 alphaC inhibin sequence. (+info)
Proliferative lesions and reproductive tract tumors in male descendants of mice exposed developmentally to diethylstilbestrol.
Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) is associated with reproductive tract abnormalities, subfertility and neoplasia in experimental animals and humans. Studies using experimental animals suggest that the carcinogenic effects of DES may be transmitted to succeeding generations. To further evaluate this possibility and to determine if there is a sensitive window of exposure, outbred CD-1 mice were treated with DES during three developmental stages: group 1 was treated on days 9-16 of gestation (2.5, 5 or 10 microg/kg maternal body weight) during major organogenesis; group II was treated once on day 18 of gestation (1000 microg/kg maternal body weight) just prior to birth; and group III was treated on days 1-5 of neonatal life (0.002 microg/pup/day). DES-exposed female mice (F(1)) were raised to maturity and bred to control males to generate DES-lineage (F(2)) descendants. The F(2) males obtained from these matings are the subjects of this report; results in F(2) females have been reported previously [Newbold et al. (1998) CARCINOGENESIS:, 19, 1655-1663]. Reproductive performance of F(2) males when bred to control females was not different from control males. However, in DES F(2) males killed at 17-24 months, an increased incidence of proliferative lesions of the rete testis and tumors of the reproductive tract was observed. Since these increases were seen in all DES treatment groups, all exposure periods were considered susceptible to perturbation by DES. These data suggest that, while fertility of the DES F(2) mice appeared unaltered, increased susceptibility for tumors is transmitted from the DES 'grandmothers' to subsequent generations. (+info)
Estrogen receptor alpha has a functional role in the mouse rete testis and efferent ductules.
Previous studies of the estrogen receptor-alpha knockout (alpha ERKO) in the male mouse demonstrate that the rete testis and efferent ductules are targets of estrogen. Because the alpha ERKO mouse lacks a functional estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha) throughout development, it was not known whether the morphological and physiological abnormalities observed in the alpha ERKO male were due to developmental defects or to dysfunctions concurrent with the lack of ER alpha in the tissue. This study was designed to determine if treatment of normal wild-type (WT) mice with the pure antiestrogen, ICI 182,780, (ICI) could reproduce the morphological characteristics seen in alpha ERKO mice. Thirty-day-old male mice were treated for 35 days with either castor oil or ICI. Age-equivalent alpha ERKO mice were used for comparison. Light microscopic examinations of the reproductive tracts revealed dramatic changes in the efferent ductules of treated mice: a 1.7-fold increase in luminal diameter, a 56% reduction in epithelial cell height, a 60% reduction in brush boarder height of nonciliated cells, and an apparent reduction of the number of observable lysosomes and endocytotic vesicles. Testes of ICI-treated mice showed swollen rete testes area (6.5 times larger than control) and a 65% reduction in rete testis epithelium height. However, there were no significant changes in body and testis weights. These results indicate that ER blockage with ICI in WT mice results in morphological changes of the efferent ductules resembling those seen in alpha ERKO siblings of the same age. Based on this study, we conclude that ER alpha has a functional role in the mouse reproductive tract and the aberrant morphology observed in the efferent ductules of the alpha ERKO mouse is likely the result of a concurrent response to the lack of functional ER alpha, and not solely due to the lack of ER alpha during early developmental times. (+info)
Germ cell transplantation in pigs.
Spermatogonial stem cells form the foundation of spermatogenesis, and their transplantation provides a unique opportunity to study spermatogenesis and may offer an alternative approach for animal transgenesis. This study was designed to extend the technique of spermatogonial transplantation to an economically important, large-animal model. Isolated immature pig testes were used to develop the intratesticular injection technique. Best results of intratubular germ cell transfer were obtained when a catheter was inserted into the rete testis under ultrasound guidance. The presence of infused dye or labeled cells was confirmed in the seminiferous tubules from 70 of 89 injected isolated testes. Infusion of 3-6 ml of dye solution or cell suspension could fill the rete and up to 50% of seminiferous tubules. The technique was subsequently applied in vivo. Donor cells included testis cells from 1- or 10-wk-old boars (from the recipients' contralateral testis or unrelated donors) and those from mice carrying a marker gene. Porcine testis cells were labeled with a fluorescent marker before transplantation. Testes were examined for the presence and localization of labeled donor cells immediately after transplantation or every week for 4 wk. Labeled porcine donor cells were found in numerous seminiferous tubules from 10 of 11 testes receiving pig cells. These results indicate that germ cell transplantation is feasible in immature pigs, and that porcine transplanted cells are retained in the recipient testis for at least 1 mo. This study represents a first step toward successful spermatogonial transplantation in a farm animal species. (+info)