The evidence for the lower temperature of the testes of many mammals is summarized, and the reasons suggested for the descent of the testes into a scrotum are discussed. Descriptions are given of the various techniques used for studying the effects of heat on the testis, whole body heating, local heating of the testes (by inducing cryptorchidism, scrotal insulation or immersion of the scrotum in a water bath), and heating of tissue or cell preparations in vitro. The effects of heat are discussed, effects on the testis (weight, histology, physiology, biochemistry and endocrinology), on the numbers and motility of spermatozoa in rete testis fluid and semen, on fertilizing ability of spermatozoa and on the subsequent development of the embryos produced when spermatozoa from heated testes are used to fertilize normal ova. The possible mechanisms for the damaging effects of heat are discussed, as well as the importance of heat-induced abnormalities in male reproduction in domestic animals and humans.
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