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Updated: Aug 24 2021

Structure of Testes

Images barrier.jpg
  • Overview
  • Anatomy
    • Tunica albuginea
      • an unusually thick, dense connective tissue capsule that covers each testis
    • Lobules
      • incomplete connective tissue septa that projects from tunica albuginea divides each testis into lobules
    • Seminiferous tubules
      • lobules consist of seminiferous tubules
      • spermatogenesis occurs in seminiferous tubules
      • seminiferous tubule epithelium contains spermatogenic cells and Sertoli cells
  • Spermatogenic Cells
    • Found within the seminiferous tubules
    • Spermatogenic cells are organized in poorly defined layers of progressive development between adjacent Sertoli cells
      • most immature spermatogenic cells, spermatogonia, rest on basal lamina
      • most mature spermatogenic cells, spermatids, attach to apical portion of Sertoli cells and border lumen of seminiferous tubules
      • dividing spermatogenic cells form daughter cells that remain joined by cytoplasmic bridges
  • Sertoli Cells
    • Function to synthesize and secrete hormones including
      • anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)
        • released during embryogenesis and inhibits development of Müllerian (paramesonephric) ducts
      • androgen-binding protein (ABP)
        • released into luminal space of seminiferous tubules, near developing spermatogonia
        • ABP binds testosterone and maintains high local testosterone levels, necessary for spermatogenesis
      • inhibin
        • provides negative-feedback on hypothalamic-pituitary axis and inhibits GnRH, LH, and FSH
        • has more of an effect inhibiting FSH than GnRH or LH
      • other products
        • other products that support developing spermatogonia and support spermatogenesis
    • Sertoli cell junctional complexes
      • extensive tight junctions bind adjacent Sertoli cells
      • junctional complexes establish 2 epithelial compartments
        • basal compartment
          • occupies space between basal lamina and Sertoli cell - Sertoli cell junctional complexes
          • contains spermatogonia
        • luminal compartment
          • occupies space above Sertoli cell - Sertoli cell junctional complexes
          • contains primary spermatocytes, secondary spermatocytes, spermatids, and spermatozoa
      • blood-testis barrier
        • established by junctional complexes
        • spermatogenic cells differ antigenically from somatic cells;therefore, a blood-testis barrier is required to prevent spermatogenic cell exposure to immune system and a resulting autoimmune response
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