Seminiferous tubules have a basement membrane that separates it from the Leydig cells. Spermatogonia, which is a precursor of spermatogenesis, is present in the seminiferous tubules. Sertoli cells are present in the walls of the seminiferous tubules, and these cells make the major component of the seminiferous tubules. The Sertoli cells give attachment to the developing sperm, and it consists of two compartments, such as the basal compartment and the adluminal compartment. The adluminal compartment maintains a tight Junction between developing sperms and the blood-borne agents. This tight Junction is known as the blood testis barrier.
The blood-testis barrier does not allow any substance to pass to the developing sperm except for a few steroids and proteins. The main function of the blood-testis barrier is to protect the germ cells. It also prevents the antigenic products produced by the germ cells to enter into the circulation, which can cause an autoimmune reaction. The blood-testis barrier maintains the composition of the fluids of the seminiferous tubules. These fluids are rich in androgens, estrogens, potassium, inositol, glutamic, and aspartic acid. It maintains the higher osmolality and favors the osmotic movement of the fluid.
Functions of sertoli cells:
These cells are responsible for germ cell development. They provide structural support and nutrition to the germ cells. The Sertoli cells are rich in glycoproteins and nourish the germ cells. They phagocyte the residual bodies and the damaged germ cells from the seminiferous tubules. Each Sertoli cells gives attachment to 10 â€“ 15 spermatids. They secrete the fluids into the lumen of the seminiferous tubules. They have a major role in spermiation. This process involves plasma and proteolytic enzymes that are released from the Sertoli cells to the sperms. Sertoli cells also have sensitivity for the follicle stimulating hormone and testosterone. They are present in the cell membrane and within the nucleus of the satellite cells. These receptors increase during the time of puberty, and they help in sperm development. The endocrine functions of the Sertoli cells include the production of inhibin but suppress the release of the follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary. Activin is produced by the Sertoli cells stimulates the production of follicle stimulating hormone. Follistatin and Mullerian regression substance are also produced by the Sertoli cells. Sertoli cells convert androgen into estrogen through an enzyme called aromatase. This cell also secrets the androgen binding proteins and H Y antigen.
Function of germ cells and Leydig cell:
Germ cells of the testis are the germinal epithelium cells of the seminiferous tubules. These germ cells are known as spermatogonium that develops into mature spermatozoa, and this process of development is known as spermatogenesis. The Leydig cells of the testis produce testosterone, and it is the primary cell of steroidogenesis. It is present near the capillaries in the interstitial space of the seminiferous tubules. Leydig cells are rich in mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum and mainly secretes testosterone and androstenedione. In the intrauterine life of a male fetus, Leydig cells are responsible for the differentiation of the male genital ducts. In male infants, during postnatal life, they increase the level of testosterone secretion. The activity of Leydig cell reaches the maximum at puberty. After puberty, the basal rate of the testosterone is maintained by the Leydig cells. The testosterone produced by the Leydig cells and the Sertoli cell binds with the androgen binding proteins for its function. This testosterone is responsible for the main functions of testis such as spermatogenesis, the functioning of Sertoli cells, and the estrogen production of Sertoli cells.
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