Cell junction dynamics in the testis: Sertoli-germ cell interactions and male contraceptive development
Cheng,Chuen-yan; Mruk,Dolores D.
Physiological Reviews 82(4): 825-874
Publication date: 2002
Spermatogenesis is an intriguing but complicated biological process. However, many studies since the 1960s have focused eitheron the hormonal events of the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicularaxis or morphological events that take place in the seminiferousepithelium. Recent advances in biochemistry, cell biology, andmolecular biology have shifted attention to understanding someof the key events that regulate spermatogenesis, such as germcell apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, Sertoli-germ cell communication,and junction dynamics. In this review, we discuss the physiologyand biology of junction dynamics in the testis, in particularhow these events affect interactions of Sertoli and germ cellsin the seminiferous epithelium behind the blood-testis barrier.We also discuss how these events regulate the opening and closingof the blood-testis barrier to permit the timely passage of preleptoteneand leptotene spermatocytes across the blood-testis barrier. Thisis physiologically important since developing germ cells musttranslocate across the blood-testis barrier as well as traversethe seminiferous epithelium during their development. We alsodiscuss several available in vitro and in vivo models that canbe used to study Sertoli-germ cell anchoring junctions and Sertoli-Sertolitight junctions. An in-depth survey in this subject has also identifiedseveral potential targets to be tackled to perturb spermatogenesis,which will likely lead to the development of novel malecontraceptives.