Journal Article

Biology of the Sertoli cell in the fetal, pubertal, and adult mammalian testis

A healthy man typically produces between 50 × 106 and 200 × 106 spermatozoa per day by spermatogenesis; in the absence of Sertoli cells in the male gonad, this individual would be infertile. In the adult testis, Sertoli cells are sustentacular cells that support germ cell development by secreting proteins and other important biomolecules that are essential for germ cell survival and maturation, establishing the blood–testis barrier, and facilitating spermatozoa detachment at spermiation. In the fetal testis, on the other hand, pre-Sertoli cells form the testis cords, the future seminiferous tubules. However, the role of pre-Sertoli cells in this process is much less clear than the function of Sertoli cells in the adult testis. Within this framework, we provide an overview of the biology of the fetal, pubertal, and adult Sertoli cell, highlighting relevant cell biology studies that have expanded our understanding of mammalian spermatogenesis.