Physiology of Testicular Function

01/2010; DOI:10.1007/978-3-540-78355-8_2

ABSTRACT The testes produce the male gametes and the male sexual hormones (androgens). The term spermatogenesis describes and includes all the processes involved in the production of gametes, whereas steroidogenesis refers to the enzymatic reactions leading to the production of male steroid hormones. Spermatogenesis and steroido-genesis
take place in two compartments morphologically and functionally distinguishable from each other. These are the tubular compartment,
consisting of the seminiferous tubules (tubuli seminiferi) and the interstitial compartment (interstitium) between the seminiferous tubules (Figs. 2.1 and 2.2). Although anatomically separate, both compartments are closely connected
with each other. For quantitatively and qualitatively normal production of sperm the integrity of both compartments is necessary.
The function of the testis and thereby also the function of its compartments are governed by the hypothalamus and the pituitary
gland (endocrine regulation). These endocrine effects are mediated and modulated at the testicular level by local control mechanisms (paracrine and autocrine factors).

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