Epididymis of viscacha (Lagostomus maximus maximus): Morphological changes during the annual reproductive cycle

Authors

  • Claudia Aguilera-Merlo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cátedra de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, San Luis, Argentina
    • Cátedra de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Av. Ejército de los Andes 950-2° Piso, 5700 San Luis, Argentina
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    • Fax: 54-2652-422644

  • Estela Muñoz,

    1. Cátedra de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, San Luis, Argentina
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  • Susana Dominguez,

    1. Cátedra de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, San Luis, Argentina
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  • Luis Scardapane,

    1. Cátedra de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, San Luis, Argentina
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  • Ramón Piezzi

    1. Instituto de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina
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Abstract

Little is known about morphological changes in the epididymis in relation to the natural photoperiod or their influence on sperm maturation. The viscacha is a seasonal rodent living in the Southern Hemisphere. The adult males exhibit an annual reproductive cycle with periods of maximum gonadal activity and gonadal regression. In this work, we studied seasonal variations in the morphology and cellular population of the epididymis during both periods, and we compared these results with those recorded at the testicular level. Epididymides were removed and studied by light microscopy. Measurements of luminal diameter, epithelial height, thickness of the lamina propria, and relative cellular distribution were performed. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) or nonparametric ANOVA was used to compare the results. Striking quantitative and qualitative changes were observed. Epididymides in periods of gonadal regression showed a significant decrease in luminal diameter and epithelial height in cauda, while the thickness of the lamina propria increased. In the epididymal corpus, the number of clear cells increased, and the cytoplasm of principal cells showed numerous giant vacuoles. During the active period, the number of halo cells increased and the cytoplasm of these cells was filled with dense bodies. In conclusion, the epididymis of the viscacha exhibits important seasonal morphological changes throughout annual reproductive cycle. The epididymal corpus and cauda segments appeared to be the segments most sensitive to seasonal cyclical variations of the external environment. We therefore postulate that the epididymal morphology of the viscacha probably could be regulated by the natural photoperiod. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary