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Biol Reprod. 1990 Sep;43(3):363-67.

Synchronization of the seminiferous epithelium after vitamin A replacement in vitamin A-deficient mice.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, State University of Utrecht, Medical School, The Netherlands.


The effect of vitamin A deficiency and vitamin A replacement on spermatogenesis was studied in mice. Breeding pairs of Cpb-N mice were given a vitamin A-deficient diet for at least 4 wk. The born male mice received the same diet and developed signs of vitamin A deficiency at the age of 14-16 wk. At that time, only Sertoli cells and A spermatogonia were present in the seminiferous epithelium. These spermatogonia were topographically arranged as single and paired cells and as clones of 4, 8 and more cells. A few mitoses of single, paired, and clones of 4 A spermatogonia were found, which were randomly distributed over the seminiferous epithelium. When vitamin A-deficient mice were treated with retinol-acetate combined with a normal vitamin A-containing diet, spermatogenesis restarted again synchronously. Only a few successive stages of the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium were present up to at least 43 days after vitamin A replacement. After 20 days, 98.3% of the seminiferous tubules were synchronized, showing pachytene spermatocytes as the most advanced cell type, mostly being in epithelium stages IX-XII. After 35 and 43 days, spermatogenesis was complete in 99.6% of the tubular cross sections, and most tubular cross sections were in stages IV-VII of the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium. The degree of synchronization was comparable or even higher than found in rats. The rate of development of the spermatogenic cells between 8 and 43 days after vitamin A replacement seemed to be similar to that in normal mice. Assuming that the rate of development of the spermatogenic cells is also normal during the first 8 days after vitamin A replacement, it can be deduced that the preleptotene spermatocytes, present after 8 days, were A spermatogonia in the beginning of stage VIII at the moment of vitamin A replacement. These results indicate that the mouse can be used as a model to study epithelial stage-dependent processes in the testis.

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