Seminiferous Epithelium: The epithelium lining the seminiferous tubules composed of primary male germ cells (SPERMATOGONIA) and supporting SERTOLI CELLS. As SPERMATOGENESIS proceeds, the developing germ cells migrate toward the lumen. The adluminal compartment, the inner two thirds of the tubules, contains SPERMATOCYTES and the more advanced germ cells.Sertoli Cells: Supporting cells projecting inward from the basement membrane of SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES. They surround and nourish the developing male germ cells and secrete ANDROGEN-BINDING PROTEIN and hormones such as ANTI-MULLERIAN HORMONE. The tight junctions of Sertoli cells with the SPERMATOGONIA and SPERMATOCYTES provide a BLOOD-TESTIS BARRIER.Spermatogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the male from the primordial germ cells, through SPERMATOGONIA; SPERMATOCYTES; SPERMATIDS; to the mature haploid SPERMATOZOA.Seminiferous Tubules: The convoluted tubules in the TESTIS where sperm are produced (SPERMATOGENESIS) and conveyed to the RETE TESTIS. Spermatogenic tubules are composed of developing germ cells and the supporting SERTOLI CELLS.Blood-Testis Barrier: A specialized barrier, in the TESTIS, between the interstitial BLOOD compartment and the adluminal compartment of the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES. The barrier is formed by layers of cells from the VASCULAR ENDOTHELIUM of the capillary BLOOD VESSELS, to the SEMINIFEROUS EPITHELIUM of the seminiferous tubules. TIGHT JUNCTIONS form between adjacent SERTOLI CELLS, as well as between the ENDOTHELIAL CELLS.Testis: The male gonad containing two functional parts: the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES for the production and transport of male germ cells (SPERMATOGENESIS) and the interstitial compartment containing LEYDIG CELLS that produce ANDROGENS.Spermatids: Male germ cells derived from the haploid secondary SPERMATOCYTES. Without further division, spermatids undergo structural changes and give rise to SPERMATOZOA.Epithelium: One or more layers of EPITHELIAL CELLS, supported by the basal lamina, which covers the inner or outer surfaces of the body.Spermatogonia: Euploid male germ cells of an early stage of SPERMATOGENESIS, derived from prespermatogonia. With the onset of puberty, spermatogonia at the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubule proliferate by mitotic then meiotic divisions and give rise to the haploid SPERMATOCYTES.Spermatocytes: Male germ cells derived from SPERMATOGONIA. The euploid primary spermatocytes undergo MEIOSIS and give rise to the haploid secondary spermatocytes which in turn give rise to SPERMATIDS.Spermatozoa: Mature male germ cells derived from SPERMATIDS. As spermatids move toward the lumen of the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES, they undergo extensive structural changes including the loss of cytoplasm, condensation of CHROMATIN into the SPERM HEAD, formation of the ACROSOME cap, the SPERM MIDPIECE and the SPERM TAIL that provides motility.HydrazinesIndazolesContraceptive Agents, Male: Chemical substances or agents with contraceptive activity in males. Use for male contraceptive agents in general or for which there is no specific heading.Adherens Junctions: Anchoring points where the CYTOSKELETON of neighboring cells are connected to each other. They are composed of specialized areas of the plasma membrane where bundles of the ACTIN CYTOSKELETON attach to the membrane through the transmembrane linkers, CADHERINS, which in turn attach through their extracellular domains to cadherins in the neighboring cell membranes. In sheets of cells, they form into adhesion belts (zonula adherens) that go all the way around a cell.Intercellular Junctions: Direct contact of a cell with a neighboring cell. Most such junctions are too small to be resolved by light microscopy, but they can be visualized by conventional or freeze-fracture electron microscopy, both of which show that the interacting CELL MEMBRANE and often the underlying CYTOPLASM and the intervening EXTRACELLULAR SPACE are highly specialized in these regions. (From Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2d ed, p792)Tight Junctions: Cell-cell junctions that seal adjacent epithelial cells together, preventing the passage of most dissolved molecules from one side of the epithelial sheet to the other. (Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2nd ed, p22)Epididymis: The convoluted cordlike structure attached to the posterior of the TESTIS. Epididymis consists of the head (caput), the body (corpus), and the tail (cauda). A network of ducts leaving the testis joins into a common epididymal tubule proper which provides the transport, storage, and maturation of SPERMATOZOA.Leydig Cells: Steroid-producing cells in the interstitial tissue of the TESTIS. They are under the regulation of PITUITARY HORMONES; LUTEINIZING HORMONE; or interstitial cell-stimulating hormone. TESTOSTERONE is the major androgen (ANDROGENS) produced.Testosterone: A potent androgenic steroid and major product secreted by the LEYDIG CELLS of the TESTIS. Its production is stimulated by LUTEINIZING HORMONE from the PITUITARY GLAND. In turn, testosterone exerts feedback control of the pituitary LH and FSH secretion. Depending on the tissues, testosterone can be further converted to DIHYDROTESTOSTERONE or ESTRADIOL.Sexual Maturation: Achievement of full sexual capacity in animals and in humans.Sperm Count: A count of SPERM in the ejaculum, expressed as number per milliliter.Germ Cells: The reproductive cells in multicellular organisms at various stages during GAMETOGENESIS.Felidae: The cat family in the order CARNIVORA comprised of muscular, deep-chested terrestrial carnivores with a highly predatory lifestyle.Organ Size: The measurement of an organ in volume, mass, or heaviness.Rats, Sprague-Dawley: A strain of albino rat used widely for experimental purposes because of its calmness and ease of handling. It was developed by the Sprague-Dawley Animal Company.Infertility, Male: The inability of the male to effect FERTILIZATION of an OVUM after a specified period of unprotected intercourse. Male sterility is permanent infertility.Integrin alpha6beta1: A cell surface receptor mediating cell adhesion to the EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX and to other cells via binding to LAMININ. It is involved in cell migration, embryonic development, leukocyte activation and tumor cell invasiveness. Integrin alpha6beta1 is the major laminin receptor on PLATELETS; LEUKOCYTES; and many EPITHELIAL CELLS, and ligand binding may activate a number of signal transduction pathways. Alternative splicing of the cytoplasmic domain of the alpha6 subunit (INTEGRIN ALPHA6) results in the formation of A and B isoforms of the heterodimer, which are expressed in a tissue-specific manner.Vitamin A Deficiency: A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of VITAMIN A in the diet, characterized by NIGHT BLINDNESS and other ocular manifestations such as dryness of the conjunctiva and later of the cornea (XEROPHTHALMIA). Vitamin A deficiency is a very common problem worldwide, particularly in developing countries as a consequence of famine or shortages of vitamin A-rich foods. In the United States it is found among the urban poor, the elderly, alcoholics, and patients with malabsorption. (From Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p1179)Lepidium: A plant genus of the family BRASSICACEAE growing in Peru mountains. It is the source of maca root.Acrosome: The cap-like structure covering the anterior portion of SPERM HEAD. Acrosome, derived from LYSOSOMES, is a membrane-bound organelle that contains the required hydrolytic and proteolytic enzymes necessary for sperm penetration of the egg in FERTILIZATION.Orchitis: Inflammation of a TESTIS. It has many features of EPIDIDYMITIS, such as swollen SCROTUM; PAIN; PYURIA; and FEVER. It is usually related to infections in the URINARY TRACT, which likely spread to the EPIDIDYMIS and then the TESTIS through either the VAS DEFERENS or the lymphatics of the SPERMATIC CORD.Immunohistochemistry: Histochemical localization of immunoreactive substances using labeled antibodies as reagents.Testicular Diseases: Pathological processes of the TESTIS.Colubridae: The largest family of snakes, comprising five subfamilies: Colubrinae, Natricinae, Homalopsinae, Lycodontinae, and Xenodontinae. They show a great diversity of eating habits, some eating almost anything, others having a specialized diet. They can be oviparous, ovoviviparous, or viviparous. The majority of North American snakes are colubrines. Among the colubrids are king snakes, water moccasins, water snakes, and garter snakes. Some genera are poisonous. (Goin, Goin, and Zug, Introduction to Herpetology, 3d ed, pp321-29)Transforming Growth Factor beta3: A TGF-beta subtype that plays role in regulating epithelial-mesenchymal interaction during embryonic development. It is synthesized as a precursor molecule that is cleaved to form mature TGF-beta3 and TGF-beta3 latency-associated peptide. The association of the cleavage products results in the formation a latent protein which must be activated to bind its receptor.Follicle Stimulating Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Microscopy, Electron: Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.Cryptorchidism: A developmental defect in which a TESTIS or both TESTES failed to descend from high in the ABDOMEN to the bottom of the SCROTUM. Testicular descent is essential to normal SPERMATOGENESIS which requires temperature lower than the BODY TEMPERATURE. Cryptorchidism can be subclassified by the location of the maldescended testis.Occludin: A MARVEL domain protein that plays an important role in the formation and regulation of the TIGHT JUNCTION paracellular permeability barrier.Epithelial Cells: Cells that line the inner and outer surfaces of the body by forming cellular layers (EPITHELIUM) or masses. Epithelial cells lining the SKIN; the MOUTH; the NOSE; and the ANAL CANAL derive from ectoderm; those lining the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM and the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM derive from endoderm; others (CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM and LYMPHATIC SYSTEM) derive from mesoderm. Epithelial cells can be classified mainly by cell shape and function into squamous, glandular and transitional epithelial cells.Epithelium, Corneal: Stratified squamous epithelium that covers the outer surface of the CORNEA. It is smooth and contains many free nerve endings.Junctional Adhesion Molecules: A family of membrane glycoproteins localized to TIGHT JUNCTIONS that contain two extracellular Ig-like domains, a single transmembrane segment, and a cytoplasmic tail of variable length.Microscopy, Immunoelectron: Microscopy in which the samples are first stained immunocytochemically and then examined using an electron microscope. Immunoelectron microscopy is used extensively in diagnostic virology as part of very sensitive immunoassays.Meiosis: A type of CELL NUCLEUS division, occurring during maturation of the GERM CELLS. Two successive cell nucleus divisions following a single chromosome duplication (S PHASE) result in daughter cells with half the number of CHROMOSOMES as the parent cells.Diethylhexyl Phthalate: An ester of phthalic acid. It appears as a light-colored, odorless liquid and is used as a plasticizer for many resins and elastomers.Hypophysectomy: Surgical removal or destruction of the hypophysis, or pituitary gland. (Dorland, 28th ed)RNA, Messenger: RNA sequences that serve as templates for protein synthesis. Bacterial mRNAs are generally primary transcripts in that they do not require post-transcriptional processing. Eukaryotic mRNA is synthesized in the nucleus and must be exported to the cytoplasm for translation. Most eukaryotic mRNAs have a sequence of polyadenylic acid at the 3' end, referred to as the poly(A) tail. The function of this tail is not known for certain, but it may play a role in the export of mature mRNA from the nucleus as well as in helping stabilize some mRNA molecules by retarding their degradation in the cytoplasm.Cell Communication: Any of several ways in which living cells of an organism communicate with one another, whether by direct contact between cells or by means of chemical signals carried by neurotransmitter substances, hormones, and cyclic AMP.Fertility: The capacity to conceive or to induce conception. It may refer to either the male or female.Histocytochemistry: Study of intracellular distribution of chemicals, reaction sites, enzymes, etc., by means of staining reactions, radioactive isotope uptake, selective metal distribution in electron microscopy, or other methods.Genitalia, Male: The male reproductive organs. They are divided into the external organs (PENIS; SCROTUM;and URETHRA) and the internal organs (TESTIS; EPIDIDYMIS; VAS DEFERENS; SEMINAL VESICLES; EJACULATORY DUCTS; PROSTATE; and BULBOURETHRAL GLANDS).Rats, Inbred Strains: Genetically identical individuals developed from brother and sister matings which have been carried out for twenty or more generations or by parent x offspring matings carried out with certain restrictions. This also includes animals with a long history of closed colony breeding.Gene Expression: The phenotypic manifestation of a gene or genes by the processes of GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION and GENETIC TRANSLATION.Zonula Occludens-1 Protein: A 195-kDa zonula occludens protein that is distinguished by the presence of a ZU5 domain at the C-terminal of the molecule.Vitamin A: Retinol and derivatives of retinol that play an essential role in metabolic functioning of the retina, the growth of and differentiation of epithelial tissue, the growth of bone, reproduction, and the immune response. Dietary vitamin A is derived from a variety of CAROTENOIDS found in plants. It is enriched in the liver, egg yolks, and the fat component of dairy products.Rats, Wistar: A strain of albino rat developed at the Wistar Institute that has spread widely at other institutions. This has markedly diluted the original strain.Actins: Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or F-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or G-actin. In conjunction with MYOSINS, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle.Microscopy, Fluorescence: Microscopy of specimens stained with fluorescent dye (usually fluorescein isothiocyanate) or of naturally fluorescent materials, which emit light when exposed to ultraviolet or blue light. Immunofluorescence microscopy utilizes antibodies that are labeled with fluorescent dye.Cell Adhesion: Adherence of cells to surfaces or to other cells.