The ultrastructure of the guinea pig rete testis
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The chambers of the rete testis (RT) of guinea pig are lined by a simple epithelium, whose cells are squamous, cubical and columnar in shape. The epithelial cells with distinct shapes were counted and the quantitative analysis of the number of these cells showed relative predominance of cubical cells. The ultrastructural observations showed predominance of membrane interdigitations among the epithelial cells. These cells present common cytoplasmic organelles. The Golgi complex polarity is typical with observation of electronlucent vesicles on the Golgi cis face closely related to rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lamellae, mitochondria and large number of polysomes on the Golgi trans face. These related structures present in Golgi area of RT cells suggest secretory activity which maybe occurs in the RT epithelium. Endocytotic process also occurs in the RT and this function probably concerns the uptake of substances and resorption of seminiferous fluid. Apical cilia present in RT epithelium cells are related with fluid transport and perhaps with chemoreception. Presence of spermatozoa portions enclosed into the cytoplasm of some epithelium cells has been refferred to as spermatophagy. The RT complex is mainly supported by loose connective tissue, with collagen fibres and some Leydig cells. Leydig cells are adjacent to the network channels of the septal part of the RT and apparently are able to secrete inside the RT lumen.