Cyclical Changes in the Distribution of the Testis Lipids in the Common Frog, Rana temporaria

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THAT the cytoplasm of the interstitial cells contains fatty substances has been known since as early as 1850 when Leydig reported them in the interstitium of bat, pig, cat and mole1. Since then, Leydig cell lipids have been reported in every group from the Agnatha to the Mammalia2. Although an enormous amount of work has been carried out on the seminiferous tubules, the majority of workers have used traditional wax-embedding techniques which result in the dissolution of lipids. Thus many aspects of the testis cycle escaped notice until comparatively recent times3. It is now known that at the conclusion of spermatogenesis in wild birds, the seminiferous tubules undergo a metamorphosis involving the sudden genesis of large quantities of cholesterol-positive lipids. At about the same time a new generation of Leydig cells arises in the exhausted interstitium4. This tubule lipid appears to contain progestogens5. Such a complete post-nuptial tubule metamorphosis does not occur in seasonal mammals6, but it is a regular part of the cycle of certain teleost fishes7 and has been reported in at least one reptile8. It is not known whether Amphibia display comparable events in the seminiferous and endocrine elements of the testis. Few, however, have been studied to this end.

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LOFTS, B., BOSWELL, C. Cyclical Changes in the Distribution of the Testis Lipids in the Common Frog, Rana temporaria . Nature 187, 708–709 (1960) doi:10.1038/187708a0

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