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E. R. A. COOPER and H. JACKSON

According to Wakeley (1943-44), the majority of epididymal cysts in man arise in the vasa efferentia, the bridge of tissue between the testis and epididymis. The ability of two sterilant chemicals to produce specific lesions of this nature in the rat (α-chlorhydrin—Ericsson, 1970; ethylenedimethanesulphonate—Cooper & Jackson, 1970) points to the need for further information on the vasa efferentia in relation to their susceptibility to damage in this manner. As there appears to be inadequate information on the course of these tubules, the present study was undertaken.

At post mortem, the testes resting in the scrotum of the rat present anterior and posterior surfaces and medial and lateral rounded borders. Serial longitudinal sections were made in both rat and mouse of the entire testis-epididymisvas complex, from the anterior to the posterior

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E. R. A. COOPER and H. JACKSON

Summary.

The development and fate of spermatocoeles induced in the rat epididymal pathway by giving a single dose of ethylenedimethanesulphonate has been followed histologically for almost 5 months. Many of the retention cysts, which have intact walls, resolve completely but large spermatocoeles may persist. Their content of dead spermatozoa is removed and replaced by viable spermatozoa as the testis recovers from the antispermatogenic action of the compound. The presence of such residual cysts is then compatible with normal fertility. Rupture of the cyst walls with the formation of permanent spermgranulomata sometimes occurs.

No definite relationship to the loss of androgen support induced by the compound has been found, since concurrent treatment with testosterone did not prevent the formation of lesions.

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E. R. A. COOPER and H. JACKSON

Summary.

Histological changes in the rat testis were correlated with the antifertility effects of injections of three diol diesters of methanesulphonic acid. The compounds are consecutive members of a homologous series each differing by -CH2- from its neighbours. The diester of ethylene glycol (EDS) caused antispermatogenic effects resembling those following hypophysectomy and was associated with involution of prostate and epididymis; spermatocoele formation occurred in the latter organ. Methylene dimethanesulphonate and 1,3-propylene dimethanesulphonate induced changes consistent with spermatogonial damage resembling those produced by Myleran (busulphan).

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H. JACKSON, A. R. JONES and E. R. A. COOPER

Summary.

Hexamethylphosphoramide, an important industrial solvent, has been investigated because of its damage potential to reproductive cells. Male rats of proven fertility were given consecutive daily doses at prescribed levels and fertility data were obtained by serial mating. Aspermia in rats followed oral treatment with twenty-one doses of 100 mg/kg and five doses of 500 mg/kg. The former dose induced sterility between the 6th and 12th weeks and fertility did not return in a majority of animals. The histological results at both dose levels were consistent with an antispermatogenic action and correlated with the effects observed on fertility. In the pituitary glands of the sterilized males, considerable enlargement of basophil cells occurred. Simple modifications in the chemical structure of HMPA resulted in loss of the sterilizing action.

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E. R. A. COOPER, A. R. JONES and H. JACKSON

Summary.

The antifertility effects and histopathological changes in the reproductive tract of male rats following administration of α-chlorohydrin, α-bromohydrin, epi-chlorohydrin and glycidol were compared. Contrary to earlier reports, α-bromohydrin induced bilateral spermatocoeles and permanent sterility in rats but did not produce the functional epididymal sterilizing effect of α-chlorohydrin. Glycidol reproduced the primary sterilizing effect of α-chlorohydrin but not the lesions in the proximal caput epididymidis. Epi-chlorohydrin showed activities resembling those of α-chlorohydrin. The primary lesion in the proximal caput epididymidis was seen specifically to involve the `conus' and adjacent regions with sloughing of the epithelium. This may impair the secretory/absorptive function of this region with ensuing severe damage to the thin-walled ductuli efferentes. Except where granulomata were formed, restoration of the epithelium occurred. The apical region of the proximal caput remained undamaged throughout.