The collagen skeleton of the cat testis. A scanning electron microscopy study after 2N-NaOH maceration.

R. Heyn, U. Muglia, E. Vizza, P. M. Motta

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Testes from adult cats were studied by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) after 2N-NaOH maceration method which selectively digests cells and tissue compounds. As seen by this technique, the testis appears covered by a dense fibroconnective tunica albuginea that divides partially the organ by sending septa into the parenchyma. The interstitium is made up by a rich connective tissue composed by randomly-arranged fine collagen bundles that clearly outline the spaces occupied by the seminiferous tubules. The basement membrane of the seminiferous tubules consists in two rough layers of collagen fibers that in some places leave small fenestrations. The three-dimensional arrangement of collagen fibers in the interstitium outlines a system of cavities likely to be lacunar spaces for Leydig cells and vascular imprints. Especially, the above chemical technique followed by deep observations under the SEM allowed a clear and complete view of the real three-dimensional microarchitecture of the connective tissue of the testis. Therefore, the collagen component was revealed to actually form a unique and complex skeleton for the whole organ. This three-dimensional figure closely follows indeed the classical histological compartmentalization of the testis with a better insight of its spatial microtopographical features. Moreover, this structural pattern is also likely to give rise to very fine morphofunctional subcompartmentalization, especially regarding the basement membrane of the seminiferous tubules and the lacunar spaces for Leydig cells including satellite vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalItalian journal of anatomy and embryology = Archivio italiano di anatomia ed embriologia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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