Morphometric analysis of the components of the neonatal and the adult rat testis interstitium

S. M.L.C. Mendis-Handagama, G. P. Risbridger, D. M. de Kretser

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Leydig cells in the foetal rat testis are still present at birth and it has been hypothesized that they commence to degenerate immediately after birth, based on the decrease in their volume density (v/v%) with age. In this study the interstitium of the rat testis was studied quantitatively at 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 90 days after birth: the latter are considered to be adults. The absolute volumes of connective tissue cells and blood vessels increased with age. The absolute volumes of macrophages and lymphatic spaces were greater at 90 days than at any other age. The absolute volume of foetal Leydig cells per testis was unchanged from 1 to 15 days, despite a decrease in the% volume occupied per testis. The number of foetal Leydig cells per testis did not decline from days 1–20 although on day 20 an average foetal Leydig cell was smaller in volume than at earlier ages (days 1–15). Adult Leydig cells were recognized at day 10 and their absolute volume and number per testis increased from 15 to 90 days. Adult Leydig cells were similar in morphology to foetal Leydig cells at 20 days except for a reduced volume of cytoplasmic lipid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Andrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1987


  • adult Leydig cells
  • Foetal Leydig cells
  • morphometry
  • rat
  • testis

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