Indexed on: 27 Oct '09Published on: 27 Oct '09Published in: Theriogenology
Similar to most wild felids, the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is an endangered species. However, knowledge regarding reproductive biology of the ocelot is very limited. Germ cell transplantation is an effective technique for investigating spermatogenesis and stem cell biology in mammals, and the morphologic characterization of germ cells and knowledge of cycle length are potential tools for tracking the development of transplanted germ cells. Our goal was to investigate basic aspects related to testis structure, particularly spermatogenesis, in the ocelot. Four adult males were used. After unilateral orchiectomy, testis samples were routinely prepared for histologic, stereologic, and autoradiographic analyses. Testis weight and the gonadosomatic index were 11+/-0.6g and 0.16+/-0.01%, respectively, whereas the volume density of seminiferous tubules and Leydig cells was 83.2+/-1.6% and 9.8+/-1.5%. Based on the acrosomic system, eight stages of spermatogenesis were characterized, and germ cell morphology was very similar to that of domestic cats. Each spermatogenic cycle lasted 12.5+/-0.4 d, and the entire spermatogenic process lasted 56.3+/-1.9 d. Individual Leydig cell volume was 2522mum(3), whereas the number of Leydig and Sertoli cells per gram of testis was 38+/-5x10(6) and 46+/-3x10(6). Approximately 4.5 spermatids were found per Sertoli cell, whereas daily sperm production per gram of testis was 18.3+/-1x10(6), slightly higher than values reported for other felids. The knowledge obtained in this study could be very useful to the preservation of the ocelot using domestic cat testes to generate and propagate the ocelot genome.