A Comparative Study of Intratesticular Ductules in the Spermatogenically Active Testes of Shortfin Mako and Thresher Sharks

Leon Mendel McClusky, James Sulikowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This comparative study of the radial testes of sexually mature thresher sharks (Alopias vulpinus) and shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) describes the histology of the three-tiered network of sperm-carrying ductules in the testis and the lymphomyeloid tissue associated with it, namely the epigonal organ. In both species, a testis → epigonal gradient was evident regarding the thickness of the ductule epithelial lining and subepithelial investment of connective tissue. Ductules straddling the testis–epigonal border often displayed luminal leukocytes and various signs of regression, including the progressive thickening of the ductule epithelial lining, dissolution of the cytoplasm, and loss of normal histoarchitecture. In Isurus, large amorphous areas formed due to the fusion of neighboring regressing ductules. The epigonal organ of Alopias additionally revealed circular degenerative sperm-containing, Hassall-like bodies with either a degenerate or cellular appearance, the latter the result of cell proliferative activity (as shown by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunohistochemistry) in an expanding outer border comprising cells with intensely PCNA immunoreactive slender and oblong nuclei. The latter cells exhibited a periphery-to-center transformation of their nuclei, at which stage they were PCNA-negative and most likely in a terminally differentiated state as they phagocytized the cell debris in the degenerate core. Intermediate stages of these circular bodies were a rarity. The relationship between these degenerate bodies, and the common occurrence of blind pockets in the epithelial linings and non-apoptosis-related degenerate patches in the apical cytoplasmic regions of the irregular shaped ductules in Alopias is unclear, and needs further elucidation. Anat Rec, 299:1435–1448, 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1435-1448
Number of pages14
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ductuli efferentes
  • involution
  • PCNA immunohistochemistry
  • shortfin mako shark
  • thresher shark

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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