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Plasma and tissue testosterone concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay in 12 eight-month-old sexually mature New Zealand White rabbits and evaluated for possible associations with spermatogenic efficiency as well as with volume density and number of Leydig cells. Testicular tissue was processed histologically and histometry was performed in order to quantify germ cells, Sertoli cells and Leydig cells. Spermatogenic efficiency, reported as the ratios among germ cells (spermatogonia, primary spermatocytes and round spermatids) and by the ratio of germ cells to Sertoli cells, was not associated with testosterone levels. However, Leydig cell parameters such as number of Leydig cells per gram of testis, total number of Leydig cells per testis and percent cell volume of Leydig cell nuclei were correlated significantly with testosterone levels. The statistically significant correlation (r = 0.82, P<0.05) observed between testosterone levels and the number of Leydig cells per gram of testis suggests that, in the rabbit, the latter parameter can serve as a criterion for monitoring testosterone levels in this species under normal conditions.


Biological Sciences

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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research


Associação Brasileira de Divulgação Científica

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