Spermatogenesis and related plasma androgen levels in Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.)

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2002 Jul;132(3):567-75. doi: 10.1016/s1095-6433(02)00092-2.


Spermatogenesis in male Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.) was investigated by sampling blood plasma and testicular tissue from 15-39-month-old fish. The experiment covered a period in which all fish reached puberty and completed sexual maturation at least once. The germinal compartment in Atlantic halibut testis appears to be organized in branching lobules of the unrestricted spermatogonial type, because spermatocysts with spermatogonia were found throughout the testis. Spermatogenesis was characterized histologically, and staged according to the most advanced type of germ cell present: spermatogonia (Stage I), spermatogonia and spermatocytes (Stage II), spermatogonia, spermatocytes and spermatids (Stage III), spermatogonia, spermatocytes, spermatids and spermatozoa (Stage IV), and regressing testis (Stage V). Three phases could be distinguished: first, an initial phase with low levels of circulating testosterone (T; quantified by RIA) and 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT; quantified by ELISA), spermatogonial proliferation, and subsequently the initiation of meiosis marked by the formation of spermatocytes (Stage I and II). Secondly, a phase with increasing T and 11-KT levels and with haploid germ cells including spermatozoa present in the testis (Stage III and IV). Thirdly, a phase with low T and 11-KT levels and a regressing testis with Sertoli cells displaying signs of phagocytotic activity (Stage V). Circulating levels of 11-KT were at least four-fold higher than those of T during all stages of spermatogenesis. Increasing plasma levels of T and 11-KT were associated with increasing testicular mass throughout the reproductive cycle. The absolute level of, or the relation between, testis growth and circulating androgens were not significantly different in first time spawners compared to fish that underwent their second spawning season. These results provide reference levels for Atlantic halibut spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / blood*
  • Animals
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Flounder / blood*
  • Flounder / physiology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Spermatogenesis*
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Testis / anatomy & histology
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / growth & development*


  • Androgens