Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Following the isolation of sperm in the epididymides of male guinea-pigs by the separation of this organ from the testis, the animals were found to remain fertile for periods varying from twenty to thirty-five days, whether they were allowed to mate but once during this period, or five times during the period, or twenty times during the period. Motile sperm were found as long as fifty-nine days after the operation. It was concluded, on the basis of these data, that an aging process which sperm isolated in the epididymis undergo is more important than the number of matings (up to at least nine or ten) in the determination of the period during which sperm motility is retained and in the determination of the period during which fertilizing capacity is retained.If the behavior of sperm isolated in the epididymides can be taken as an indication of the processes of sperm development which occur normally, the epididymis would seem to be an organ in which sperm may at one time be attaining an optimal functional state and may at another time be aging and becoming incapable of functioning. The possible significance of this suggestion for the rǒle of the epididymis in sperm development and for the history of sperm after they leave the testis is discussed.
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