Author(s): Curtis SK, Amann RP
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Abstract Fifty-two Holstein bulls were castrated at 12, 16, 20, 24, 28 or 32 weeks to (1) determine whether testicular development is influenced by season of birth (April or October) and (2) examine quantitatively the establishment of spermatogenesis. Season of birth (spring or fall) did not influence (P less than .05) either testis weight at castration or the establishment of spermatogenesis. With age held constant, scrotal circumference and testis weight were correlated (.79; p less than .05). Testis weight increased from 9 +/- 1 g at 12 weeks to 117 +/- 10 g at 32 weeks of age. Seminiferous tubules occupied 44\% of the testicular parenchyma at 12 weeks and 81\% at 32 weeks. Differentiation of basal indifferent supporting cells to Sertoli cells started at 20 weeks, and formation of Sertoli cells was completed near 28 weeks. Gonocytes predominated at 12 weeks, but by 20 weeks most had been replaced by prespermatogonia and A-spermatogonia. Thus, transformation from a prepubertal testis to a pubertal testis containing Sertoli cells and A-spermatogonia occurred between 16 and 24 weeks (testis weight = 18 to 42 g). Preleptotene to diplotene spermatocytes appeared sequentially between 16 and 28 weeks and their numbers increased through 32 weeks. Significant numbers of pachytene spermatocytes and spermatids were not present before 28 and 32 weeks, respectively. Establishment of spermatogenesis was completed by 32 weeks (testis weight less than 80 g). Testes weighing less than 80 g were producing few if any sperm. Thus, the establishment of spermatogenesis was progressive, associated with more than a fourfold increase in testis weight, and occurred over a period of about 16 weeks.
This article was published in J Anim Sci
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology