Transplantation of testicular tissue onto the back of immunodeficient nude mice provides a tool to examine testicular development and preserve fertility in mammals. There is no immunodeficient model in birds, but we recently transplanted ovarian tissue between newly hatched chicks from two lines of chickens and produced donor-derived offspring, showing that experimental transplantation is possible in newly hatched chicks. In the present study testicular tissue from newly hatched Barred Plymouth Rock (BPR) chicks was transplanted under the skin of the back, under the skin of the abdomen, or in the abdomen of White Leghorn chicks that had been surgically castrated and immunocompromised. Recipient birds were killed at 10 mo of age. Transplanted tissue was observed in one of five hosts receiving tissue under the skin of the back, two of five hosts receiving tissue under the skin of the abdomen, and three of five chicks with grafts inside the abdominal cavity. In recipients with no regeneration of host testes, testicular transplants grew to the size of normal testes, and histologic analysis showed active spermatogenesis. Subsequent collection of sperm from two successful transplants and surgical insemination of the sperm into the magna of the oviducts of BPR hens resulted in the production of 24 donor-derived chicks. These results demonstrate that the combination of testicular tissue transplantation with intramagnal insemination can produce viable, normal chicks, which could provide a simple approach for the recuperation of live offspring in avian species.
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Vol. 76 • No. 4