Epididymal functions and their hormonal regulation

Aust J Biol Sci. 1983;36(3):205-21. doi: 10.1071/bi9830205.


The epididymis is a complex organ which maintains a specific intraluminal environment thought to be important for effecting sperm maturation in proximal regions and sperm storage in distal regions of the duct. The composition of the internal milieu is achieved both by transport between blood and lumen (and vice versa) and by synthesis and secretion into the lumen. Several low-molecular weight organic molecules achieve high concentration in the epididymal lumen, but their functions in the events of sperm maturation and storage still remain unclear. Metabolic processes occurring within epididymal tissue and the absorptive and secretory activity of the epididymal epithelium are regulated by androgens. The synthesis of some, but not all, secretory proteins is also androgen-dependent. In addition to androgens, other hormones and local testicular factors may influence epididymal function. There is now increasing evidence that epididymal-specific and androgen-dependent secretory proteins play a fundamental role in modifying the surface characteristics of sperm in preparation for the events of fertilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Androgens / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Dihydrotestosterone / metabolism
  • Epididymis / metabolism
  • Epididymis / physiology*
  • Glycerylphosphorylcholine / biosynthesis
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Sperm Maturation
  • Sperm Motility
  • Sperm Transport
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism


  • Androgen-Binding Protein
  • Androgens
  • Hormones
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Glycerylphosphorylcholine
  • Sodium