Ectopic testicular xenografting can be used to investigate spermatogenesis and as an alternative means for generating transgenic spermatozoa in many species. Improving the efficiency of spermatogenesis in xenografted testicular tissue will aid in the application of using this approach. The present study was conducted to evaluate age-related differences in the establishment of spermatogenesis in grafted testicular tissue from bulls between 2 and 16 wk of life. Testicular tissue was ectopically xenografted under the skin on the backs of castrated nude mice and subsequently evaluated for growth, testosterone production, and establishment of spermatogenesis 24 wk after grafting. The greatest weight increases occurred in donor tissue from calves of the ages 2, 4, and 8 wk compared with the ages of 12 and 16 wk. Recipient mouse serum testosterone concentration was at normal physiological levels 24 wk after grafting and no significant differences were detected between recipients grafted with testicular tissue from bull calves of different ages. The development of germ cells to elongated spermatids were observed in seminiferous tubules of grafts from donor calves of the ages 4, 8, 12, and 16 wk but not observed in grafts from 2-wk donors, which contained round spermatids as the most advanced germ cell stage. Grafts from 8-wk donors contained a significantly higher (10-fold) average percentage of seminiferous tubules with elongated spermatids than all other donor ages. These data demonstrate differences in the ability of testicular tissue from donor animals of different ages to establish spermatogenesis following ectopic testicular xenografting.
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