Phagocytosis by Sertoli Cells: Analysis of Main Phagocytosis Steps by Confocal and Electron Microscopy

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1748:85-101. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7698-0_8.


Sertoli cells were discovered in the seminiferous tubules by Enrico Sertoli in 1865 (Morgagni 7:31-33, 1865). Intense phagocytosis is, in the context of spermatogenesis cycle, morphologically the most noticeable function of Sertoli cells. In this chapter the major principles of phagocytosis machinery and its specificities in the seminiferous tubules will be briefly reviewed, guidelines of analysis of main phagocytosis steps by confocal and transmission electron microscopy will be described, and a simplified method to assess phagocytosis rate in routine experiments will be given.

Keywords: Apoptotic-like membranes; Homeostatic phagocytosis; Nonprofessional phagocytes; Phagocytosis steps; Residual bodies; Sertoli cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods*
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Rats
  • Sertoli Cells / cytology
  • Sertoli Cells / physiology*
  • Sertoli Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Spermatogenesis