Tissue & cell

Topography of the rat blood-testis barrier after intratubular administration of intercellular tracers.

PMID 3238690


Intratubular injection of electron-opaque tracers (lanthanum hydroxide, peroxidase) by micromanipulation showed that the intercellular spaces of the adluminal compartment are in continuity with the lumen of the rat seminiferous tubule at all stages of the spermatogenic cycle. This continuity involves the intercellular spaces which surround zygotene spermatocytes and late leptotene spermatocytes in stages X-XI. The present observations would seem to cast doubt on the real existence of a third compartment, or intermediate compartment, in the seminiferous epithelium. In the material which, in addition to intratubular administration, had been treated with intravascular tracer perfusion, we found the presence of a parabasal region of interSertoli junctions where the tracer stopped whatever its direction. Freeze-fracture replicas exhibit interSertoli tight junctions arranged, from basal lamina to lumen, in three well-defined patterns: in the most basal area, which is the zone of free penetration of tracers from the peritubular environment, junctions are very sparse or absent; a belt of closely apposed continuous and parallel junctions, also parallel to the basal lamina, is the exclusion zone which prevents tracer penetration from either direction; the most apical membrane areas display irregularly arranged, loosely spaced and frequently interrupted rows of particles, most tending to be perpendicular to the basal lamina. This area corresponds to the territory where the intraluminally injected tracer permeates the interSertoli space.

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Lanthanum(III) hydroxide, 99.9% trace metals basis