The microminipig has considerable potential as an animal model to evaluate general toxicity; however, there are few studies on the male reproductive system, particularly regarding spermatogenesis. The objectives of the present study were to clarify the stages of the seminiferous epithelium cycle on the basis of spermiogenesis and to determine the duration of spermatogenesis in the microminipig. Eleven microminipigs from 6 to 9 months of age were used for histological analyses. Spermiogenesis and stages of the seminiferous epithelium cycle were classified according to the degree of acrosomal development as shown by the periodic acid-Schiff reaction. Three of the animals were intravenously injected with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine to determine the duration of spermatogenesis by immunohistochemistry. Spermiogenesis was classified into 15 steps according to the morphological development of the acrosome, nucleus, and flagellum. The seminiferous epithelium cycle was classified into 11 stages based on the steps of spermatid development and germ cell associations. The length of the seminiferous epithelium cycle and the overall spermatogenesis process in the microminipig were estimated to be approximately 9.1 and 40.9 days, respectively. The results indicate the potential application of the microminipig in the evaluation of testicular toxicity, such as spermatogenesis disruption, in general toxicity studies.
Keywords: acrosomic system; microminipig; spermatogenesis; spermiogenesis; staging; swine.
© The Author(s) 2016.