Sensitivity of the Spermatogenic Process in the Rat to Radiomimetic Drugs and X-Rays

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SPERMATOGONIA are considered to be the most radiosensitive cells of the male germinal epithelium. They may be selectively damaged or destroyed without apparently impairing the continued development into spermatozoa of later generations of spermatogenic cells present at the time of irradiation. In the mouse, Oakberg1 has found that exposure to 200 r. rapidly destroyed all type B spermatogonia, and Bateman2 observed a transient sterility in male mice six weeks after exposure to this dose which was associated with marked oligospermia. These two findings are correlated and provide an estimate of the overall time required for the development of spermatozoa in the seminiferous tubules (testicular phase) and their transport through the epididymis (epididymal phase). Other results from radioactive tracer experiments in the mouse3 have also indicated a period of about 40 days for the same process. Since Oakberg4 has proposed that five weeks (34.5 days) are required for the testicular phase of sper-matogenesis in the mouse, it follows that an additional week is occupied by the epididymal phase.

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    Oakberg, E. F., Radiation Res., 2, 369 (1955).

  2. 2

    Bateman, A. J., Nature, 177, 934 (1956).

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    MacMillan, E. W., and Harrison, R. G., Studies on Fertility, 7, 35 (1955).

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    Bock, M., and Jackson, H., Brit. J. Pharmacol. and Chemotherapy, 12, 1 (1957).

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CRAIG, A., FOX, B. & JACKSON, H. Sensitivity of the Spermatogenic Process in the Rat to Radiomimetic Drugs and X-Rays. Nature 181, 353–354 (1958) doi:10.1038/181353a0

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