Descriptive morphometry and stereology in accessing the testis structure and function of the marsupial Philander frenatus (Olfers, 1818) (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae).

Research paper by Vanessa de Freitas VF Ferreira, Fernanda Carolina Ribeiro FCR Dias, Kyvia Lugate Cardoso KLC Costa, Sérgio Luis Pinto SLP da Matta, Fabiano Rodrigues FR de Melo, Fabiana Cristina Silveira Alves FCSA de Melo

Indexed on: 09 Dec '20Published on: 08 Dec '20Published in: Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia


Philander frenatus is an important marsupial for the maintenance and conservation of the Atlantic Rainforest, however, it has biological characteristics that are still little explored. The study of the reproductive biology is an important key to understand the species reproductive strategies and to improve the development of conservation and management activities. The present study aimed to conduct a histological and morphometric investigation of the testis structure and function of P. frenatus. The average body and testicular weight were 445 g and 0.74 g, respectively, with a gonadosomatic index of 0.17%. The seminiferous tubules occupying 64.95% of the organ, totalising 9.26 m per gram of testis. The tubulesomatic and epitheliumsomatic indexes were 0.10% and 0.07%, respectively. Philander frenatus showed cell loss of approximately 98% during the proliferative phase and the spermatogenic yield was 10.3 cells. The high loss during the mitotic phase contributed to the low spermatogenic yield. The testicular parenchyma was composed of 35% of intertubular components, one of the highest proportions observed in mammals. Leydig cells were responsible for approximately 25% of the testes, followed by lymphatic space (6.44%), blood vessels and connective tissue (4% together). The organisation of the intertubular components resembles the Fawcett III category. The volume and number of Leydig cell per gram of testis were 2,627.12 µm and 91.28 × 10 cells, respectively. High investment in the intertubular compartment, specifically number and volume of Leydig cells in P. frenatus is consistent with territorial behaviour and polygynic mating system, which have greater androgenic capacity. © 2020 Wiley-VCH GmbH.