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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hormonal induction of all stages of spermatogenesis in vitro in the male Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica).

The importance of gonadotropins and androgens for spermatogenesis is generally accepted in vertebrates, but the role played by specific hormones has not been clarified. Under cultivation conditions, male Japanese eels (Anguilla japonica) have immature testes containing only premitotic spermatogonia, type A and early-type B spermatogonia. In the present study, a recently developed organ-culture system for eel testes was used to determine in vitro effects of various steroid hormones on spermatogenesis. After 9 days of culture in serum-free, chemically defined medium containing 11-ketotestosterone (10 ng/ml), a major androgen in male eels, type A and early-type B spermatogonia began mitosis, producing late-type B spermatogonia. After 18 days, zygotene spermatocytes with synaptonemal complexes appeared, indicating that meiosis had already started by this time. In testis fragments cultured for 21 days, round spermatids and spermatozoa were observed with spermatogenic cells at all stages of development. Addition of 11-ketotestosterone to the culture medium also caused a marked cytological activation of Sertoli cells. No other steroid hormones tested had such stimulatory effects. These results, together with our earlier observations, suggest the following sequence for the hormonal induction of spermatogenesis in eel testes; gonadotropin stimulates the Leydig cells to produce 11-ketotestosterone, which, in turn, activates the Sertoli cells leading to the completion of spermatogenesis. This is, thus, an example of an animal system in which all stages of spermatogenesis have been induced by hormonal manipulation in vitro.[1]


  1. Hormonal induction of all stages of spermatogenesis in vitro in the male Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica). Miura, T., Yamauchi, K., Takahashi, H., Nagahama, Y. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1991) [Pubmed]
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