Macrophages in the interstitial tissue of the rat testis
Macrophages were identified in the intertubular tissue of the rat testis by loading animals with a particulate vital dye (trypan blue or India ink) and by localizing immunocytochemically a macrophage membrane antigen (MRC W3/25). Leydig cells were identified by the histochemical staining reaction for 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity and by a monoclonal antibody. Macrophages were scattered in the interstitial tissue closely attached to and mixed with the Leydig cells. They were never found in the seminiferous tubules. The macrophages comprised about 25% of all the cells in the interstitium. Double staining with a vital dye and a marker antibody showed that all the phagocytosing cells were macrophages and that the Leydig cells did not take up vital dyes. Double staining for the demonstration of the 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity and the macrophage antigen likewise revealed two distinctly different cell populations. Crude Leydig cell preparations obtained by collagenase treatment of the testis contained macrophages (12–14%). Macrophages were present throughout the postnatal prepuberal development of the testis. Their density was increased in the cryptorchid and irradiated testis.