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Microsc Res Tech. 2003 May 1;61(1):7-17.

Contribution of epididymal secretory proteins for spermatozoa maturation.

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UMR INRA-CNRS 6073, Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, 37380, Nouzilly, France.


The final stages of sperm differentiation occur outside the gonad and are not under the genomic control of germ cells. Only sequential interactions with the medium surrounding the sperm are believed to induce the final steps of spermatogenesis. The epididymis, a long tubule with very active secretory and reabsorption functions, is able to create sequential changes in the composition of luminal fluid throughout its length. The chronologies of the changes, which occur on/in the sperm with those in their surrounding environment, are described. Correlations between the highly regionalized epididymal activities and sperm characteristics linked to their survival and fertility potential are presented in this review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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