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.Sertoli Cell Tumor: Gonadal neoplasm composed entirely of SERTOLI CELLS or may have a component of GRANULOSA CELLS. Some of the Sertoli cell tumors produce ESTROGEN or ANDROGENS, but seldom in sufficient quantity to cause clinical symptoms such as FEMINIZATION or masculinization (VIRILISM).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.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.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 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.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.Spermatids: Male germ cells derived from the haploid secondary SPERMATOCYTES. Without further division, spermatids undergo structural changes and give rise to SPERMATOZOA.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.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.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.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.Receptors, FSH: Cell surface proteins that bind FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes influencing the behavior of cells.Androgen-Binding Protein: Carrier proteins produced in the Sertoli cells of the testis, secreted into the seminiferous tubules, and transported via the efferent ducts to the epididymis. They participate in the transport of androgens. Androgen-binding protein has the same amino acid sequence as SEX HORMONE-BINDING GLOBULIN. They differ by their sites of synthesis and post-translational oligosaccharide modifications.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.Testicular Hormones: Hormones produced in the testis.Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome: A type of male infertility in which no germ cells are visible in any of the biopsied SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES (type I) or in which germ cells are present in a minority of tubules (type II). Clinical features include AZOOSPERMIA, normal VIRILIZATION, and normal chromosomal complement.Inhibins: Glycoproteins that inhibit pituitary FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE secretion. Inhibins are secreted by the Sertoli cells of the testes, the granulosa cells of the ovarian follicles, the placenta, and other tissues. Inhibins and ACTIVINS are modulators of FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE secretions; both groups belong to the TGF-beta superfamily, as the TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA. Inhibins consist of a disulfide-linked heterodimer with a unique alpha linked to either a beta A or a beta B subunit to form inhibin A or inhibin B, respectivelyGerm Cells: The reproductive cells in multicellular organisms at various stages during GAMETOGENESIS.Sexual Maturation: Achievement of full sexual capacity in animals and in humans.Clusterin: A highly conserved heterodimeric glycoprotein that is differentially expressed during many severe physiological disturbance states such as CANCER; APOPTOSIS; and various NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS. Clusterin is ubiquitously expressed and appears to function as a secreted MOLECULAR CHAPERONE.Testicular Diseases: Pathological processes of the TESTIS.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.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Antispermatogenic Agents: Agents, either mechanical or chemical, which destroy spermatozoa in the male genitalia and block spermatogenesis.Anti-Mullerian Hormone: A glycoprotein that causes regression of MULLERIAN DUCTS. It is produced by SERTOLI CELLS of the TESTES. In the absence of this hormone, the Mullerian ducts develop into structures of the female reproductive tract. In males, defects of this hormone result in persistent Mullerian duct, a form of MALE PSEUDOHERMAPHRODITISM.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.Transferrin: An iron-binding beta1-globulin that is synthesized in the LIVER and secreted into the blood. It plays a central role in the transport of IRON throughout the circulation. A variety of transferrin isoforms exist in humans, including some that are considered markers for specific disease states.Sperm Count: A count of SPERM in the ejaculum, expressed as number per milliliter.Sex-Determining Region Y Protein: A transcription factor that plays an essential role in the development of the TESTES. It is encoded by a gene on the Y chromosome and contains a specific HMG-BOX DOMAIN that is found within members of the SOX family of transcription factors.Organ Size: The measurement of an organ in volume, mass, or heaviness.SOX9 Transcription Factor: A SOXE transcription factor that plays a critical role in regulating CHONDROGENESIS; OSTEOGENESIS; and male sex determination. Loss of function of the SOX9 transcription factor due to genetic mutations is a cause of CAMPOMELIC DYSPLASIA.Immunohistochemistry: Histochemical localization of immunoreactive substances using labeled antibodies as reagents.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.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)Cell Count: The number of CELLS of a specific kind, usually measured per unit volume or area of sample.GATA4 Transcription Factor: A GATA transcription factor that is expressed in the MYOCARDIUM of developing heart and has been implicated in the differentiation of CARDIAC MYOCYTES. GATA4 is activated by PHOSPHORYLATION and regulates transcription of cardiac-specific genes.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.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.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.Sex Differentiation: The process in developing sex- or gender-specific tissue, organ, or function after SEX DETERMINATION PROCESSES have set the sex of the GONADS. Major areas of sex differentiation occur in the reproductive tract (GENITALIA) and the brain.Rete Testis: The network of channels formed at the termination of the straight SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES in the mediastinum testis. Rete testis channels drain into the efferent ductules that pass into the caput EPIDIDYMIS.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.Seminal Vesicles: A saclike, glandular diverticulum on each ductus deferens in male vertebrates. It is united with the excretory duct and serves for temporary storage of semen. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed)Bucladesine: A cyclic nucleotide derivative that mimics the action of endogenous CYCLIC AMP and is capable of permeating the cell membrane. It has vasodilator properties and is used as a cardiac stimulant. (From Merck Index, 11th ed)Oligospermia: A condition of suboptimal concentration of SPERMATOZOA in the ejaculated SEMEN to ensure successful FERTILIZATION of an OVUM. In humans, oligospermia is defined as a sperm count below 20 million per milliliter semen.Receptors, Androgen: Proteins, generally found in the CYTOPLASM, that specifically bind ANDROGENS and mediate their cellular actions. The complex of the androgen and receptor migrates to the CELL NUCLEUS where it induces transcription of specific segments of DNA.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)Sex Determination Processes: The mechanisms by which the SEX of an individual's GONADS are fixed.Gonads: The gamete-producing glands, OVARY or TESTIS.Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction: A variation of the PCR technique in which cDNA is made from RNA via reverse transcription. The resultant cDNA is then amplified using standard PCR protocols.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.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.Inhibin-beta Subunits: They are glycopeptides and subunits in INHIBINS and ACTIVINS. Inhibins and activins belong to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily.Testicular Neoplasms: Tumors or cancer of the TESTIS. Germ cell tumors (GERMINOMA) of the testis constitute 95% of all testicular neoplasms.Fertility: The capacity to conceive or to induce conception. It may refer to either the male or female.