Interrelationships between Sertoli cells and germ cells in the Syrian hamster.Z Mikrosk Anat Forsch. 1979; 93(2):321-42.ZM
The interrelationships of the Sertoli cells and germ cells in the Syrian hamster were examined using the electron microscope. Demosome-like junctions were observed attaching Sertoli cells to spermatogonia and spermatocytes. In the region of the junctions dense plaques lay on the cytoplasmic surfaces of the plasmalemma of the opposing cells. Sertoli cell cytoplasmic filaments converged in the area of the junctions and inserted into the subsurface densities. Filaments were not observed associated with the subsurface densities of the germ cells. In the region of the junctions a 15...20 nm gap, filled with an attenuate amorphous substance, separated the plasmalemmata. Another attachment device termed "junctional specialization" occurred between Sertoli cells, and preleptotene spermatocytes and all successive developmental steps in the germ cell line in the hamster. The junctional specializations consisted of a mantel of Sertoli cell cytoplasmic filament lying subjacent to the Sertoli cell plasmalemma and an opposed cisterna of the endoplasmic reticulum. In stages VII-VIII preleptotene supermatocytes were observed in transit from the basal compartment to the adluminal compartment. While Sertoli-Sertoli junctions adluminal to the spermatocytes remained intact, typical Sertoli-Sertoli junctions formed between opposed Sertoli cell processes basal to the spermatocytes. It is proposed that, during the passage of spermatocytes in to the adluminal compartment, junctional specializations associated with preleptotene spermatocytes in the basal compartment migrate basal to the spermatocytes and contribute to formation of Sertoli-Sertoli junctions. Treatment of seminiferous tubules with hypertonic media was used to demonstrate that the junctional specializations function in cell-to-cell adhesion. Data indicated that these junctions function to retain the developing spermatids within the seminiferous epithelijm until the time of spermiation. At spermination the junctional specializations disappear and the spermatids drift off into the tubule lumen.