Light and electron microscopy revealed an age-related progression of alterations of Sertoli cells in the intra-abdominal and scrotal testes of unilaterally cryptorchid West African dwarf goats between the ages of 1 and 30 months. Alterations in the scrotal testis were, however, maturational and included differentiation of Sertoli-to-Sertoli cell junctional specializations, profusion of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, convolution of nuclear profiles, development of vacuolar components of the nucleolus, and an overall change in cell shape in response to proliferation of germinal cells. Corresponding features were observed in Sertoli cells of the contralateral intra-abdominal testis, but the cytoplasmic features were transient because the cells degenerated progressively. Early changes included segregation of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum into compact masses composed of dense, narrow cisternae, dilatation of the rough endoplasmic reticulum cisternae into large, irregular profiles, atrophy of the Golgi complex, and accumulation of lipid droplets and lipofuscin granules. Many of these organelles and inclusions no longer were obvious in Sertoli cells of 12- to 15-month-old goats; rather, intracellular vacuoles and dilated intercellular spaces had become common. In the 24- to 30-month-old goats, Sertoli cells in the intra-abdominal testis contained mostly microfilaments and basally located mitochondria with circular cristae in dense matrices. The Sertoli-to-Sertoli cell junctional specializations were structurally intact. These results indicated that, in spite of the unfavorable intra-abdominal environment, Sertoli cells of the intra-abdominal testis, before their degeneration, had developed features similar to those of the scrotal testis.
American Journal of Veterinary Research 01/1988; 48(12):1736-45.