Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 15, pp 2623–2636 | Cite as

Heat stress response of male germ cells



The vast majority of mammalian testes are located outside the body cavity for proper thermoregulation. Heat has an adverse effect on mammalian spermatogenesis and eventually leads to sub- or infertility. Recent studies have provided insights into the molecular response of male germ cells to high temperatures. Here, we review the effects of heat on male germ cells and discuss the mechanisms underlying germ cell loss and impairment. We also discuss the role of translational control in male germ cells as a potential protective mechanism against heat-induced germ cell apoptosis.


Hyperthermia Spermatogenesis Infertility Heat stress Germ cell apoptosis DNA damage Stress granules 



We thank Dr. Howard J. Cooke and our lab members, especially Won Yul Jang and Miseon Lee, for critical reading of the manuscript. This study was supported by grants from the BioImaging Research Center at GIST; the Basic Research Program [grant number 3344-20100052]; the Science Research Center Program [grant number R11-2005-009-030050] of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; and the second stage of the Brain Korea 21 Project in 2009 (to B.K.) and 2011 (to K.P.).


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© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea

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