Freeze-fracture observations on the intercellular junctions of Sertoli cells and of Leydig cells in the human testis

Cell Tissue Res. 1976 Feb 6;166(1):37-48. doi: 10.1007/BF00215123.


Normal and feminized human testes were examined by means of freeze-fracture. In both cases, the junctional complexes between adjacent Sertoli cells show a unique characteristic feature. Many parallel linear occluding junctions are located circumferentially around the cell surface at the level of the nucleus. They are more than forty in number over one Sertoli cell surface. In the A face, the particles are not prominent on the ridge of the junctions. Instead, they are clearly seen in the center of the groove of the junctions on the B face. Gap junctions consisting of particle aggregation are not found between the Sertoli cells. The gap junctions between the Leydig cells are frequently observed in both normal and feminized testes. They are round or elliptic in contour and about several micrometers in diameter. The particles, about 8 nm in diameter, are closely packed to form a quasi-hexagonal pattern. The pits are found on the B face corresponding to the particle aggregation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / pathology
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure*
  • Leydig Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sertoli Cells / ultrastructure*