Spermatogenesis in the rabbit following ligation of the epididymidis at different levels


  • This work was supported in part by Public Health Service Research grant HD 03471 from The National Institute of Child Health, and Human. Development.


Ligatures were placed unilaterally on the ductus deferens (experiment 1), on the ductus deferens and the middle of the corpus epididymidis (experiment 2) and on the ductus deferens, corpus epididymidis and ductuli efferentes (experiment 3) in 39 rabbits. The untreated contralateral side served as a control. Vasectomy alone appeared to have no effect upon the testes, or upon spermatozoa accumulated during a period of 12 weeks proximal to the ligature. In experiment 2 severe disruption of spermatogenesis occurred. Diameter of the seminiferous tubules decreased, testes atrophied, and the stages of the seminiferous epithelium were abnormal and often not classifiable. Some regeneration was observed after 12 weeks.

In experiment 3 there was only a moderate and more transient disturbance of spermatogenesis. This occurred in spite of an accumulation of fluid in the testis due to the ligature on the ductuli efferentes, which prevented testicular effluent from reaching the caput epididymidis. These results suggest that when testicular effluent is allowed to reach the caput, but nonresorbed residues are prevented from further transport (experiment 2), a feedback to the testis occurs which is more harmful than that produced by preventing tubular contents from leaving the testes.