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C. Pellicciari, Y. Hosokawa, M. Fukuda and M. G. Manfredi Romanini

Summary. The amount of nuclear sulphydryl and disulphide groups was determined by cytofluorometry on single mouse spermatozoa from the caput, corpus and cauda epididymidis, and the vas deferens. N-(7-Dimethylamino-4-methylcoumarinyl) maleimide was used as a specific and quantitative fluorescent reagent for thiols. The sperm nuclear content of free sulphydryl groups decreased sharply from the caput epididymidis to the vas deferens. The amounts of cysteine residues present as the thiol form in the spermatozoa from the caput, corpus and cauda epididymidis and vas deferens were 50, 15, 5 and 3% respectively.

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P. E. LAKE

Summary.

Intense acid-phosphatase activity was found in the distal parts of the cells lining the entire length of the vas deferens of the domestic cock and there was evidence that the enzyme(s) is secreted in large amounts into the seminal plasma. Some acid phosphatase(s) was also produced in the vasa efferentia and seminiferous tubules.

Intense alkaline-phosphatase activity was found only in secretions of certain parts of the vasa efferentia, in the tunica intima of all small blood vessels and in intertubular tissue. From the evidence, it is considered that some alkaline phosphatase(s) might possibly diffuse into the seminal plasma from all regions of the genital tract, but it is likely to be small in amount. The significance of the presence of phosphomonoesterases in seminal plasma is discussed.

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R. N. MORRIS and A. C. COLLINS

Summary.

The biosynthesis of inositol from d-glucose was measured in testis slices from normal, cryptorchid and triethylenemelamine (TEM)-treated rats. A significant reduction of inositol synthetic activity accompanied the disappearance of spermatids and spermatozoa in both cryptorchid and TEM-treated animals. The onset of reduced inositol synthetic activity was extremely rapid in the cryptorchid testis, and preceded the appearance of grossly demonstrable histological alterations. These data suggest that de novo inositol synthesis might be required for maintenance of the cellular integrity of the germinal epithelium. This hypothesis is discussed in conjunction with recent theories concerning the rôle of inositol in the uptake of protein and nucleic acid precursors.

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H. Kishikawa, H. Tateno and R. Yanagimachi

After male animals die, the spermatozoa within the testis and epididymis eventually disintegrate. In this study, the motility, viability and fertility of mouse spermatozoa were examined after retrieval from the epididymis at various days after death. Cadavers were maintained in a refrigerator at 4°C. About 30% of the spermatozoa collected 10 days after death were viable, but they had limited ability to fertilize oocytes in vitro. However, when the spermatozoa were injected into oocytes, the fertilization rate was over 80%. Normal live fetuses were even obtained using immotile spermatozoa retrieved 20 days after death. Therefore, when valuable male animals die unexpectedly and sperm cryopreservation is not possible immediately, temporal storage of cadavers (or epididymis and vas deferens) at 4°C in a regular refrigerator followed by intracytoplasmic sperm injection may help to preserve the genome of individuals. This procedure could be particularly important in endangered species.

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G. Hohlbrugger, H. Schweisfurth and H. Dahlheim

Summary. Angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) was found in the testis, epididymis and vas deferens of rats. In tissue specimens without a prior washout of seminal fluid the highest specific ACE activity was measured in the testis. The enzyme activity was significantly lower towards the end of the excurrent ducts, suggesting that the enzyme is synthesized in the testis and secreted into the seminal fluid there. An ACE inhibiting substance may be secreted by the epididymal epithelium. Enzyme synthesis and enzyme inhibition are probably under simultaneous endocrine control. In-vitro inhibition, pH- and temperature-dependence of gonadal ACE correspond with that of lung and blood plasma. However, the physiological function of the enzyme on sperm motility and fertility remains unsolved.

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C. M. Lubicz-Nawrocki and M. C. Chang

Summary. Spermatozoa in the vas deferens of the hamster lose their fertilizing capacity 3 days after ligation of the initial part of the duct and after 2 days if the testes are removed at the time of ligation. Sham-ligation had no effect on the fertilizing life of vasal spermatozoa on the contralateral side even 3 days after bilateral castration. Unilateral castration for 3 days had no effect on the fertilizing capacity of spermatozoa from the ipsilateral unobstructed duct, whereas no eggs were fertilized by spermatozoa from the contralateral ligated duct associated with the remaining testis. Unlike testosterone, 5α-dihydrotestosterone injected daily or implanted subcutaneously in Silastic tubes maintained normal fertilizing capacity for 2 days in castrates and for 3 days in intact males. Within each group, ligation had no effect on the level of fructose in the seminal vesicle on that side compared with the level in the gland on the other side.

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A. M. PHADKE and K. PADUKONE

Summary.

Blood samples from fifty azoospermic men with proved obstruction in the vas deferens were tested for the presence of sperm agglutinins. Autoantibodies against spermatozoa were detected in thirteen of them. Another group of twenty-five cases of obstructive azoospermia in whom the obstruction was relieved successfully by vaso-epididymostomy was also investigated. In six instances sperm agglutinins persisted in the blood for years after the obstruction was relieved and three of these individuals demonstrated normal fertility. Two techniques for the detection of autoantibodies were used, namely (1) microscopic technique and (2) modified macroscopic technique of Kibrick, Belding & Merril (1952). The probable mechanism responsible for the production of sperm agglutinins is discussed. It is concluded that the presence of sperm agglutinins in the blood serum does not interfere with the fertility of the individual.

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W. D. Ratnasooriya, R. M. Wadsworth and D. P. Gilmore

Summary. The sympathomimetic drugs noradrenaline, methoxamine, tyramine and norephedrine caused rhythmic contractions in isolated human vasa deferentia. Provided the drug was not washed out, these contractions lasted for the entire duration of the experiment (4–6 h). These contractions were mediated via α-adrenoreceptors. Intravenous administration of methoxamine or oxymetazolene to rats or guinea-pigs produced contractions of the vas deferens in vivo in some experiments but was accompanied by severe cardiovascular side effects. A local method of application was developed, using mixtures of tyramine with Silastic prepared as collars specially designed to fit round the vas deferens. Acute and chronic insertion of these slow-releasing devices around the vas deferens of rats produced rhythmic contractions of the vas deferens without any serious side effects.

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B. P. SETCHELL and G. M. H. WAITES

Summary.

The concentration of spermatozoa in the rete testis fluid of rats increased gradually with age and reached adult levels at about 250 g body weight, whereas fluid secretion per unit weight of testis reached adult rates at a body weight of about 100 g. Unilateral castration had no effect on the weight of the remaining testis or on its fluid secretion; sperm concentration in rete testis fluid was only affected in very young rats. Local heating of the testes of rats was followed by a fall in the sperm concentration in rete testis fluid beginning between 6 and 10 days, and lasting until 39 days, after heating. This fall was associated with a decrease in testis weight which persisted after the concentration of spermatozoa in rete testis fluid had returned to normal. However, there was no change in fluid secretion per unit weight of testis, nor was there any change in the concentration of inositol, glycine or potassium in rete testis fluid.

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J. Hib, R. Ponzio and O. Vilar

Summary. The contractility of the cauda epididymidis and vas deferens and the movement of stained paraffin oil droplets deposited in the vas lumen were, respectively, registered and followed visually in rats electrically induced to ejaculate. Each electrical stimulation produced an abrupt contraction in the cauda epididymidis and in the middle and distal portions of the vas deferens. With the first electrical stimulations the paraffin oil droplets deposited in the proximal and middle portions of the vas deferens flowed towards the cauda epididymidis. At the moment of emission only the paraffin oil drop deposited in the distal portion of the vas was expelled towards the urethra, appearing in the urethral meatus with the ejaculated solid plug.