Correlation of meiotic events in testis sections and microspreads of mouse spermatocytes relative to the mid-pachytene checkpoint

Chromosoma. 2004 Sep;113(3):126-36. doi: 10.1007/s00412-004-0293-5. Epub 2004 Jul 29.


In mouse, asynaptic meiotic mutants arrest at Testis Epithelial Stage IV. This arrest is 4.5 days after homologous chromosomes begin to synapse and approximately 2.5 days after synapsis is usually completed. To correlate cytological events with meiotic progression in testis and to determine which meiotic events are normally completed by Stage IV, we induced spermatogenic arrest by placing mice on a vitamin A deficient diet. Subsequent injection of retinoic acid and a return to a normal diet resulted in resumption of spermatogenesis with all spermatocytes proceeding through meiosis in a highly synchronous cohort. Between Days 11 and 16 post-injection we prepared one testis for immunocytological and the other for histological evaluation, then used antibodies to SCP3 and either RPA, or MLH1 to follow quantitative changes in synapsis and recombination. RPA was found at sites along the synaptonemal complex as soon as homologs synapsed, and most, but not all, RPA disappeared by Stage IV. MLH1 foci appeared between Stage II and IV and remained through Stage VII, the end point of the study. The data suggest that the earliest the mid-pachytene checkpoint can be activated is Epithelial Stage IV, but that activities monitored by the checkpoint may not be completed by this time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Female
  • Male
  • Meiosis*
  • Mice
  • Pachytene Stage*
  • Spermatocytes / growth & development
  • Spermatocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Spermatogenesis*
  • Testis / cytology*
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Vitamin A