Summary. Development of the prepubertal seminiferous tubules of the right testis was characterized morphometrically every 14 days from 10 to 122 days of age in intact boars (I) and boars hemicastrated (HC) on Day 10 of life from two herds (Trial 1 and Trial 2). Comparisons were made between the remaining testis of Group HC boars and one testis in Group I boars. By 38 days of age seminiferous tubule length in Group HC boars was double (P < 0·0001) that in Group I boars. Seminiferous tubule length did not differ between trials within treatments. The diameter of the seminiferous tubule was similar in Group HC and I boars but was greater (P < 0·05) in Trial-1 than Trial-2 boars from Day 80 to 122 of life. Relative mass (mass of tissue/body mass) of Sertoli cells became 2-fold greater (P < 0·0001), in Group HC than in one testis of Group I boars by 38 days of age and this difference was maintained throughout the experimental period. The relative mass of Sertoli cells was greater (P < 0·05) in Trial-1 than Trial-2 boars within each treatment between 80 and 122 days of age. The relative mass of gonocytes was similar for all groups and treatments of boars. By 122 days of age the relative mass of spermatogenic cells was greater (P < 0·05) in Group HC than in one testis of Group I boars and greater (P < 0·01) in Trial-1 than Trial-2 boars within each treatment. Onset of spermatogenesis was first observed at 80 and 94 days of age in boars in Groups HC and I, respectively. Development of seminiferous tubule lumen was first observed at 94 and 108 days of age in boars in Groups HC and I respectively. Seminiferous tubule lumen, taken as a measure of fluid secretion of the Sertoli cells, occupied a greater (P < 0·01) portion of seminiferous tubule in Trial-1 than Trial-2 boars within each treatment at the end of the experimental period. It is concluded that neonatal hemicastration of boars rapidly caused a compensatory seminiferous tubule elongation apparently due to Sertoli cell proliferation and an earlier onset of spermatogenesis. However, the gonocytes do not proliferate until they transform into spermatogonia.
Keywords: boar; testis; hemicastration; seminiferous tubule; spermatogenesis