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Cytometry. 1995 Apr 1;19(4):304-12.

Mouse testis cell sorting according to DNA and mitochondrial changes during spermatogenesis.

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Institut de Biotechnologie, Faculté des Sciences, Limoges, France.


Flow cytometry can measure variations in DNA content and chromatin structure as well as dramatic changes in the mitochondria of germ cells during maturation from spermatogonia to elongated spermatids. Using 10-N nonyl acridine orange (NAO), an inner mitochondrial membrane dye, it is easy to follow mitochondria rearrangements. Mouse testis cells stained with the DNA fluorescent probe propidium iodide (PI) and analyzed by flow cytometry can be discriminated on the basis of their ploidy levels into five main regions corresponding to elongated spermatids, round spermatids, diploid, S-phase, and tetraploid cells. The simultaneous use of PI and NAO demonstrated the presence of cells having low and high mitochondrial content in the haploid, diploid, and tetraploid compartments. Eleven sorting windows were selected from the bivariate analysis (PI/NAO) and the corresponding cells were identified by microscopic observation. Cells were also discriminated by two parameter analysis of DNA content vs. cell diameter. The definition of seven different regions allowed us to determine NAO or rhodamine 123 (Rh 123) uptakes in each compartment. We observed that the ratio (Rh 123/NAO) dramatically changed according to the progression of cell differentiation which occurs during spermatogenesis.

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