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This chapter should help the student to:

  • Name the male reproductive glands, ducts, and external genitalia and give their locations.

  • Describe the general organization of the testis as it appears in a midsagittal section.

  • Trace the life cycle of the spermatozoa, beginning with their embryonic origin and ending with their path through the ducts of the male reproductive system.

  • Describe the wall structure and functions of each duct of the male reproductive system.

  • Distinguish between spermatogenesis, spermatocytogenesis, and spermiogenesis and describe the changes in the number of chromosomes and amount of DNA that occur during each process.

  • Describe Sertoli (supporting) and Leydig (interstitial) cells in terms of their structure, function, location, and embryonic origin.

  • Describe the roles of temperature, the pituitary gland, and the testes cells in spermatogenesis.

  • Compare the accessory glands of the male reproductive system in terms of general organization, epithelial lining, secretory products, and where their secretions enter the duct system.

  • Describe the three erectile bodies of the penis in terms of their histologic structure and location.

  • Describe the blood supply to the erectile tissue of the penis and the factors that control the transitions between flaccid and erect states.


  1. Sketch a testis in sagittal section (Fig. 22–1). Include and label the following components:

    1. Anterior surface

    2. Posterior surface

    3. Tunica albuginea

    4. Mediastinum testis

    5. Septa

    6. Tunica vaginalis

    7. Testicular lobule

    8. Seminiferous tubules

    9. Tubuli recti (straight tubules)

    10. Rete testis

    11. Ductuli efferentes

  2. Name the three layers of the wall of the seminiferous tubule, from exterior to lumen (II.C.11).

  3. Name the two cell types in the germinal (seminiferous) epithelium (II.C.2 and 3).

  4. Name, in order, the three phases of spermatogenesis (II.D.1–3) and compare them in terms of the cell type present at the beginning and end of each phase.

  5. List the spermatogenic cell types in order of appearance during spermatogenesis (II.C.2.a–e) and compare them in terms of location, size, nuclear morphology, chromosome number, and amount of DNA.

  6. Describe the appearance, changes, and movement of the following during spermiogenesis (II.D.3.a–f):

    1. Acrosome

    2. Centrioles

    3. Nucleus

    4. Manchette

    5. Mitochondria

    6. Residual bodies

  7. Describe the contents and function of the acrosome (acrosomal cap; II.D.3.a).

  8. Describe the difference between spermatogonia A and spermatogonia B in terms of the cell type their progeny (daughter cells) become (II.D.1).

  9. Describe Sertoli (supporting) cells (II.C.3.a and b) in terms of location, shape and size, nuclear morphology, and functions.

  10. Describe the blood–testis barrier (II.G) in terms of the cell type and cellular structures responsible for its formation, its location, the contents of the basal and adluminal compartments, and its function(s).

  11. Describe interstitial (Leydig) cells (II.F) in terms of location, shape, staining properties, primary function, and organelle(s) responsible for their primary function.

  12. Name the cells chiefly responsible for producing the following: testosterone (II.F); androgen-binding protein (II.C.3.b); inhibin (II.C.3.b); FSH (II.C.3.b); and LH (II.F; Table 20–2). Indicate the major target site(s) of each secretion and describe the secretion’s effects (in males).

  13. Why are the testes maintained ...

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