Development of the foetal and neonatal testis.

  • Date de publication : 2003-01-31


Rouiller-Fabre V, Levacher C, Pairault C, Racine C, Moreau E, Olaso R, Livera G, Migrenne S, Delbes G, Habert R. Development of the foetal and neonatal testis. Andrologia. 2003;35:79-83. PubMed PMID: 12558532.

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animals animals, newborn cell differentiation gonadotropins humans male organ culture techniques testis


The foetal testis originates from a proliferation of the mesonephric and the coelomic epithelia which are colonized by the primordial germ cells. In the foetal testis, the development and functions of the three main cell type precursors (Leydig, Sertoli and germ cells) do not depend upon gonadotropins. Numerous intra- and extra-testicular factors are candidates for the control of its development and functions. To study the potential involvement of these factors, we developed an organotypic culture system. In absence of any growth factors or hormone, this system allows a development of the three main cell types which mimics that observed in vivo. The effects of different regulators (gonadotropin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, transforming growth factor-beta, insulin-like growth factor-I, anti-Mullerian hormone, retinoic acid, oestrogens) were tested in this system. Whether or not some of the effects observed in vitro have a physiological relevance was evaluated using appropriate transgenic mice. It is concluded that the foetal testis cannot be considered as an adult mini-testis since it has a specific physiology which largely differs from that of the immature or adult testis.