Testes from 37 Holstein bulls, 38-99 mo of age, were used to investigate the relationship of Sertoli cell number, Sertoli cell-germ cell ratios and other related factors to daily sperm production (DSP). DSP was assessed by enumeration of spermatids in testicular homogenates, whereas Sertoli cell and germ cell ratios were based on direct counts in 20 round Stage VIII seminiferous tubular cross sections per bull. Numbers of Sertoli cells were calculated as (total homogenization resistant spermatids:spermatid:Sertoli cell ratio)/0.394; the factor of 0.394 adjusted for the presence of homogenization resistant spermatids during only 39.4% of the spermatogenic cycle. Data were subjected to simple linear and second-order regression analyses. Positive linear relationships were observed between DSP and testicular parenchymal weight (p less than 0.005, R = +0.71), DSP per gram (p less than 0.005, R = +0.79), total Sertoli cells (p less than 0.005, R = +0.83), Sertoli cells per gram (p less than 0.01, R = +0.47) and the yield of Step 8 spermatids per Type A spermatogonium (p less than 0.05, R = +0.34). DSP was not related (p greater than 0.10) to the number of germ cells supported per Sertoli cell. Testicular parenchymal weight and DSP per gram were unrelated to each other (p greater than 0.10), but both were related (p less than 0.005) to the total Sertoli cell number (R = +0.61 and +0.62, respectively). Total number of Sertoli cells accounted for more of the variation in DSP between bulls (R2 = 68.2%) than did any other factor examined. It was suggested that total Sertoli cell number may be an important determinant of a bull’s spermatogenic potential.
Biology of Reproduction 09/1987; 37(1):60-7. DOI:10.1095/biolreprod37.1.60