An ultrastructural and lectin-histochemical study on the seminiferous epithelium of the common tree shrew (Tupaia glis)

J Anat. 1996 Aug;189 ( Pt 1)(Pt 1):87-95.


The seminiferous epithelium of the common tree shrew (Tupaia glis) was investigated using transmission electron microscopy and lectin-histochemistry. It was compared with that of shrews examined in previous studies. Some peculiar structures were detected in the tree shrew spermatid at the electron microscopic level. The most characteristic feature was the disposition of mitochondria in early spermatids. In cap and early acrosome-phase spermatids, mitochondria accumulated in one area of the spermatid cytoplasm and then dispersed in the late acrosome phase. Subsequently they again clustered to form the middle piece of spermatozoa. While the lamellar structure was clearly seen in the caudal region of the spermatid nucleus, it gradually disappeared during the process of elongation. The dilated area in the postacrosomal space of early round spermatids was also characteristic. The dilation was not detected in elongated spermatids. These structures were not recognised in the seminiferous epithelium of shrews. With respect to lectin histochemistry, the binding patterns in the spermatid acrosome of the tree shrew were similar to those of the musk shrew. However, PNA and BPA, which reacted with the Sertoli cell cytoplasm of the musk shrew, showed no reaction in the tree shrew Sertoli cell. Thus, except for some lectin binding patterns in the spermatid acrosome, no close similarity was recognised in the morphology of the seminiferous epithelium between tree shrews and shrews.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acrosome / ultrastructure*
  • Animals
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Seminiferous Epithelium / chemistry
  • Seminiferous Epithelium / ultrastructure*
  • Shrews
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Tupaiidae / metabolism


  • Lectins