Spermatogenesis in teleost: insights from the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) model
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The morphometric study of spermatogenic cysts in sexually mature tilapias, during the evolution of spermatogenesis, showed a dramatic increase in both number of germ cells and cyst volume. However, the opposite trend was observed for germ cell size. Nevertheless, the number of Sertoli cells increased gradually up to leptotene/zygotene cysts, stabilizing thereafter. Based on the number of spermatids supported by each Sertoli cell and compared to mammals, Sertoli cell efficiency in tilapias is remarkably high. Sertoli cell proliferation was frequently observed, mainly in spermatogonial cysts, and probably is the major factor related to the testis growth and the increase in sperm production that normally occurs in adult tilapias. The combined duration of spermatocytes (5 days) and spermiogenic (5–6 days) phases of spermatogenesis in fish kept at 25 °C was 10–11 days. Mainly due to acceleration in meiosis, these two phases lasted a total of 6 days in tilapias kept at 30 °C, in the opposite way, at 20 °C spermatogenesis was arrested at pachytene spermatocytes. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive investigation performed up to date on testis morphometry and function in adult tilapias.
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