Mechanisms of spermiogenesis and spermiation and how they are disturbed

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Haploid round spermatids undergo a remarkable transformation during spermiogenesis. The nucleus polarizes to one side of the cell as the nucleus condenses and elongates, and the microtubule-based manchette sculpts the nucleus into its species-specific head shape. The assembly of the central component of the sperm flagellum, known as the axoneme, begins early in spermiogenesis, and is followed by the assembly of secondary structures needed for normal flagella. The final remodelling of the mature elongated spermatid occurs during spermiation, when the spermatids line up along the luminal edge, shed their residual cytoplasm and are ultimately released into the lumen. Defects in spermiogenesis and spermiation are manifested as low sperm number, abnormal sperm morphology and poor motility and are commonly observed during reproductive toxicant administration, as well as in genetically modified mouse models of male infertility. This chapter summarizes the major physiological processes and the most commonly observed defects in spermiogenesis and spermiation, to aid in the diagnosis of the potential mechanisms that could be perturbed by experimental manipulation such as reproductive toxicant administration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere979623
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • flagella
  • manchette
  • sperm
  • spermatid
  • spermatogenesis

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