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J Histochem Cytochem. 2013 Sep;61(9):680-9. doi: 10.1369/0022155413496639. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

Characterization of the pre-meiotic S phase through incorporation of BrdU during spermatogenesis in the rat.

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Laboratorio de Microscopía Electrónica, Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad de México, México.


Seminiferous tubules in mammals have histological arrangements defined by the associations between somatic cells and germ cells. The processes of DNA synthesis in meiotic and mitotic cells have different features that are not easily distinguishable through morphological means. In order to characterize the pre-meiotic S phase, 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) was injected intraperitoneally into Wistar rats, which were sacrificed 30 min, 2 hr, and 24 hr after injection. We found three different labeling patterns. One of these patterns was characterized by a distribution of the label in the form of speckles, most of which were associated with the nuclear envelope (labeling type I). We suggest that this pattern is due to mitotic DNA synthesis of type B spermatogonia. Labeling type II consisted of labeled foci scattered throughout the nuclear volume, which can be correlated with preleptotenic cells in pre-meiotic DNA synthesis. After 24 hr of incorporation, a third type of labeling, characterized by large speckles, was found to be related to cells in the "bouquet" stage; that is, cells in transition between the leptotene and zygotene phases. Our results indicate that BrdU incorporation induces different labeling patterns in the mitotic and pre-meiotic S phases and thus makes it possible to identify somatic and germinal cells.


5-bromo-2’-deoxyuridine; S phase; chromatin; meiosis; mitosis; testis

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