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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1989;564:154-72.

Function of vitamin A in normal and synchronized seminiferous tubules.

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Program in Biochemistry and Biophysics, Washington State University, Pullman 99164.


Vitamin A is clearly an important factor in spermatogenesis. Some of the new data on metabolism of retinoids in the testis has contributed to our understanding of the mechanism(s) involved in the action of vitamin A. It is probable that the requirement of the testis of vitamin A deficient rats for retinol but not retinoic acid involves access of the retinoids to various testicular compartments. Retinol may be required by germinal cells because of a requirement for esterification in order to be successfully transported by the Sertoli cells. Existing evidence suggests that both the Sertoli cells and the germinal cells have specific requirements for retinoids. In the vitamin A deficient rat there appears to be a developmental block at preleptotene spermatocyte and type Al spermatogonia stages. This block is removed by retinol and germinal cell development reinitiates in a synchronous manner. The synchronous testis model offers a number of advantages for the study of molecular events associated with the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium and the development of germinal cells as well as for investigations into the mechanism of action of the retinoids.

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