Kinetics of spermatogenesis in the wild squirrel Funambulus palmarum (Linnaeus)

Patil, S. B. ; Saidapur, S. K. (1991) Kinetics of spermatogenesis in the wild squirrel Funambulus palmarum (Linnaeus) Acta Anatomica, 141 (4). pp. 352-363. ISSN 0001-5180

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The paper describes in detail the morphology and kinetics of germ cell associations, pattern of mitotic divisions, frequency distribution of different cellular associations (stages) and percent degeneration of various germ cells in the squirrel in which spermatogenesis in adults occurs all year round. Eighteen steps of spermiogenesis were identified based on the development of the acrosomal system using PAS-haematoxylin. These were appropriately divided into Golgi, acrosome, cap and maturation phases. Thirteen types of cellular associations or stages (I-XIII) were characterized along the length of the seminiferous tubule which repeated itself in space and time constituting the seminiferous epithelial cycle (CSE). Of the 18 steps of spermiogenesis, the first 13 were associated with stages I-XIII, respectively, and the rest with the first 9 stages. Spermiation occurred in stage IX. Seven types of spermatogonia [A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, intermediate (In) and B type] were identified based on their shape, size and nuclear morphology. A0 spermatogonia are pale in appearance with homogeneously distributed chromatin surrounded by a thin nuclear membrane. These are present in all stages. A1 are oval in shape and possess a thicker nuclear membrane. They are found in stages VI-X. The chromatin material undergoes progressive condensation from A1 to A4 making the last generation of spermatogonia appear darker. The In spermatogonia which are derived from A4 are morphologically similar to them but smaller in size. The B-type spermatogonia derived from the In types possess a typically round nucleus with uniformly condensed chromatin material underneath the nuclear membrane. The spermatogonia divide mitotically at fixed stages of the CSE giving rise to their next generations. Thus, A-type spermatogonia divide at stages X, XIII/I, IV and V, while In divide at stage VI. During each CSE of the squirrel, 5 peaks of mitosis occur. There is a single generation of B-type spermatogonia. These differentiate into primary spermatocytes and undergo meiosis or maturation divisions which enter to form spermatids. The A4 which divide differentially in stage VI give rise to In- and A1-type spermatogonia. Therefore, A4 spermatogonia form renewing stem cells. Based on the above pattern of spermatogonial mitosis a model for stem cell renewal in the squirrel is proposed. The percentage degeneration of germ cells varied with the cell type. During a single CSE of the squirrel, a total of 42.09% germ cells were found to degenerate. An attempt is made to compare and contrast the kinetics of spermatogenesis in the wild squirrel with that of the other rodents studied so far.

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