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|Germinal epithelium of the testicle.|
1: basal lamina
3: spermatocyte 1st order
4: spermatocyte 2nd order
6: mature spermatid
7: Sertoli cell
8: tight junction (blood testis barrier)
|Gray's||subject #258 1243|
|Histological section through testicular parenchyma of a boar.|
1 Lumen of Tubulus seminiferus contortus
5 Sertoli cell
7 Leydig cells
Functions[edit | edit source]
Its main function is to nurture the developing sperm cells through the stages of spermatogenesis. Because of this, it has also been called the "mother cell".
Secretory[edit | edit source]
Sertoli cells secrete the following substances:
- androgen binding protein - facilitate spermatogenesis and sperm maturation
- estradiol - aromatase from Sertoli cells convert testosterone to 17 beta estradiol to direct spermatogenesis
- glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) - has been demonstrated to function in promoting undifferentiating spermatogonia, which ensures stem cell self-renewal during the perinatal period.
- the Ets related molecule (ERM transcription factor) - needed for maintenance of the spermatogonial stem cell in the adult testis.
Structural[edit | edit source]
The tight junctions of Sertoli cells form the blood-testis barrier, a structure that partitions the interstitial blood compartment of the testis from the adluminal compartment of the seminiferous tubules. Because of the apical progression of the spermatogonia, the tight junctions must be dynamically reformed and broken to allow the immunoidentical spermatogonia to cross through the blood-testis barrier so they can become immunologically unique. Sertoli cells control the entry and exit of nutrients, hormones and other chemicals into the tubules of the testis as well as make the adluminal compartment an immune-privileged site.
The cell is also responsible for establishing and maintaining the spermatogonial stem cell niche, which ensures the renewal of stem cells and the differentiation of spermatogonia into mature germ cells that progress stepwise through the long process of spermatogenesis, ending in the release of spermatozoa. Sertoli cells bind to spermatogonial cells via N-cadherins and galctosyltransferase (via carbohydrate residues).
Other functions[edit | edit source]
During the Maturation phase of spermiogenesis, the Sertoli cells consume the unneeded portions of the spermatozoa.
Production of Sertoli cells[edit | edit source]
Once fully differentiated, the Sertoli cell is unable to proliferate. Therefore, once spermatogenesis has begun, no more Sertoli cells are created.
Recently however, some scientists have found a way to grow these cells outside of the body. This gives rise to the possibility of repairing some defects that cause male infertility.
Nomenclature[edit | edit source]
He published a description of this cell in 1865. The cell was discovered by Sertoli with a Belthle microscope purchased in 1862, which he used while studying medicine.
In the 1865 publication, his first description used the terms "tree-like cell" or "stringy cell" and most importantly he referred to these "mother cells." It was other scientists who used Enrico's family name, Sertoli, to label these cell in publications, starting in 1888. As of 2006, two textbooks that are devoted specifically to the Sertoli cell have been published.
Histology[edit | edit source]
On slides, using standard staining, it can be easy to confuse the Sertoli cells with the other cells of the germinal epithelium. The most distinctive feature of the Sertoli cells is the dark nucleolus.
Pathology[edit | edit source]
Additional images[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Xiong X, Wang A, Liu G, Liu H, Wang C, Xia T, Chen X, Yang K (2006). Effects of p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene on the expressions of transferrin and androgen-binding protein in rat Sertoli cells. Environ Res 101 (3): 334–9.
- Who Named It synd/518
- OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences - OSU-CVHS Home
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
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