Mechanism for the removal of residual cytoplasm from spermatids during mouse spermiogenesis

Anat Rec. 1989 Jan;223(1):43-8. doi: 10.1002/ar.1092230107.


During spermiogenesis, cytoplasmic processes of Sertoli cells invade spermatid cytoplasm to form a canal complex (Sakai et al., 1988). Thin tubules are formed from the canal complex and intertwine with each other to give rise to the "mixed body." In the present study, analysis of the changes undergone by the intertwining thin tubules indicated that they contribute to the removal of cell organelles from spermatid cytoplasm. Intertwining thin tubules were first detected at step 13. By step 15, their number had greatly increased. In the present study, the membranes of the intertwining thin tubules were clearly observed to be continuous with the spermatid plasma membranes. Thus, the mixed body possibly may be formed as a long pit of the spermatid plasma membrane situated close to the invading Sertoli cell process. With the progress of spermiogenesis, the lumens of the intertwining thin tubules gradually became swollen, and the intertwining swollen tubules fused with each other so that the spermatid cytoplasm enclosed by the intertwining swollen tubules isolated into fragments. This fragmented cytoplasm, which contained a large amount of endoplasmic reticulum, became spherical. Small branches of the invading Sertoli cell processes entered into the lumens of the intertwining swollen tubules and occupied their interior to the point that, finally, they completely engulfed the fragmented spermatid cytoplasm. Because the invading Sertoli cell processes were continuous with Sertoli cell bodies surrounding a spermatid at this step, it is possible for the fragmented cytoplasm to be transported into the latter by way of the invading Sertoli cell processes.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm / physiology*
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Morphogenesis
  • Spermatids / physiology*
  • Spermatids / ultrastructure
  • Spermatogenesis*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases