To present a coherent and meaningful survey of scientific research endeavour in an area that has expanded as fast as physiology and biochemistry of reproduction in the male is no mean task these days. No less prodigious than the growth of knowledge of male reproductive function has been the rate at which the outpouring of publications on this subject has continued since the appearance of 'The Biochemistry of Semen and of the Male Reproductive Tract' in 1964. Since cyclopaedic treatment of this vast literature did not appeal to us, we have made no attempt either to rehash the material contained in that book or to enlarge the bibliography beyond the nearly 3500 references included in the present treatise. At the same time, whilst writing, we felt strongly that to advance, it is necessary to understand the past, and for this reason we have not hesitated to refer (especially in the introductory chapter) to a number of those fundamental early discoveries in which today's knowledge is deeply and firmly rooted.
I Male Reproductive Function and the Composition of Semen: General Considerations.- 1. Functional Dualism of the Testis.- The beginnings: conceptual formulation of testicular function.- Exocrine and endocrine activity.- 2. Male Reproductive Tract: Main Characteristics.- Representative accessory organs in mammals.- Prostate gland.- Seminal vesicle.- Bulbo-urethral (Cowper's) gland.- Preputial and urethral (Littré's) glands.- Accessory organs in marsupials.- Accessory organs in birds, frogs, reptiles, fishes and invertebrate animals.- 3. Coordination of Male Reproductive Function by Extragonadal Hormones and Environmental Factors.- Control of male reproductive function by gonadotrophins (FSH and LH) and the hypothalamic gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH).- Sexual dimorphism of the hypothalamus and other parts of the brain.- Prolactin and the pineal antigonadotrophic factor.- Regulatory hormonal mechanisms in invertebrate animals.- Influence of nutrition on male fertility.- 4. Cardinal Properties of Spermatozoa.- Exploratory observations on sperm structure, physiology and chemistry.- Sperm passage in the male and female genital tracts.- Correlations between motility and fertilizing ability.- 5. General Features of the Seminal Plasma.- Species differences.- Peculiarities of chemical composition.- Role in male reproductive performance.- Pheromonal properties.- Effects on spermatozoa.- 6. Spermatophores and Spermatophoric Reaction.- Delivery of semen by spermatophores.- Spermatophore of the Giant North-Pacific Octopus.- Spermatophoric reaction.- II Methodological Guidelines in the Study of Male Reproductive Organs.- 1. Andrological Examination of the Testis and Androgen Assays.- Gross inspection of the male gonad.- Testicular biopsy.- Quantifiable techniques for the analysis of biopsy specimens.- Evaluation of testicular function by hormone assays.- Evaluation of the potency of androgens.- 2. Cannulation, Micropuncture, Perfusion and Transplantation Techniques.- Sampling of testicular lymph.- Withdrawal of testicular and epididymal semen.- Perfusion of the testis and epididymis.- Perfusion of the prostate and superfusion of prostatic tissue slices.- Transplantation of testicular and accessory gland tissues.- 3. Isolation of Seminiferous Tubules and Disaggregation of Germinal Cells and Sertoli Cells.- Separation of seminiferous tubules from testicular interstitium.- Functional characteristics of isolated seminiferous tubules.- Disaggregation of different types of germinal cells.- Sertoli-cellenriched preparations.- 4. Cell and Organ Cultures.- Androgen secretion in fetal testis culture.- Culture techniques in the study of spermatogenesis.- Biochemical events in Sertoli cell cultures.- Maturation of spermatozoa in cultured epididymal tubules.- Prostate explants.- III Collection, Examination, Quality Rating and Storage of Ejaculated Semen.- 1. Collection of Whole and Split Ejaculates, and Separation of Spermatozoa from Seminal Plasma.- Methods for collecting whole and split ejaculates.- Separation of spermatozoa from seminal plasma in ejaculated semen.- Removal of seminal débris and seminal gel.- 2. Separation of Motile from Immotile, and Male-determining from Female-determining Spermatozoa.- Methods for separating motile from immotile spermatozoa.- Separation of male- and female-determining spermatozoa and manipulation of sex ratio.- The fluorochrome test in human chromosomal aberrations.- 3. Examination of Spermatozoa and Isolated Structural Components.- Dissection of spermatozoa.- Spatial relationships between sperm head, cytoplasmic droplet, axial filament complex, mitochondrial sheath, dense fibres and fibrous sheath.- Mechanical and chemical separation of sperm structure components.- 4. Quality Rating of Semen in Andrological Practice.- Criteria used in semen evaluation.- Devices for the appraisal of sperm density and motility, and differentiation between live and dead spermatozoa.- Sperm abnormalities and polymorphism.-
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