INVITED REVIEW
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 572-580

Blood-testis barrier and spermatogenesis: lessons from genetically-modified mice


1 Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
2 Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China; Medical Research Council, Human Genetics Unit and Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
3 Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China; Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, China

Correspondence Address:
Qing-Hua Shi
Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China; Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, China

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.125401

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The blood-testis barrier (BTB) is found between adjacent Sertoli cells in the testis where it creates a unique microenvironment for the development and maturation of meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells in seminiferous tubes. It is a compound proteinous structure, composed of several types of cell junctions including tight junctions (TJs), adhesion junctions and gap junctions (GJs). Some of the junctional proteins function as structural proteins of BTB and some have regulatory roles. The deletion or functional silencing of genes encoding these proteins may disrupt the BTB, which may cause immunological or other damages to meiotic and postmeiotic cells and ultimately lead to spermatogenic arrest and infertility. In this review, we will summarize the findings on the BTB structure and function from genetically-modified mouse models and discuss the future perspectives.


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