Indexed on: 28 Jul '06Published on: 28 Jul '06Published in: Biology of reproduction
The wild boar is a natural inhabitant of Europe, Asia, and North Africa and is phylogenetically the ancestor of the domestic pig. Because of its phylogenetic and economic importance, this species is an interesting model for studying testis function in boars. Therefore, the present study was performed to investigate the testis structure, spermatogenic cycle length, and Sertoli cell (SC) and spermatogenic efficiencies in eight adult wild boars. Each spermatogenic cycle lasted 9.05 days, and the total duration of spermatogenesis was estimated as lasting approximately 41 days. The percentages of testis volume occupied by seminiferous tubules and by Leydig cells were 87% and 6%, respectively. The mean number of SCs per gram of testis was 42 million. The SC (round spermatids per SC) and spermatogenic (daily sperm production per gram of testis) efficiencies were 6.6 cells and 28.6 million, respectively. In general, the testis structure, overall germ cell associations at the different stages of the seminiferous epithelium cycle, and duration of spermatogenesis in the wild boar were similar to those in domestic pigs. Probably because of the small size of Leydig cells (400 microm3), their number per gram of testis (157 million) was the highest among investigated mammalian species. Although the SC efficiency in wild boars was low, their spermatogenic efficiency was comparable to that observed in domestic pigs, mainly because of the higher number of SCs per gram of testis in wild boars. These data suggest that SCs became more efficient during evolution, genetic selection, and domestication in pigs.