Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/71690
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Type: Journal article
Title: Are male germ cells of the arid-zone hopping mouse (Notomys alexis) sensitive to high environmental temperatures?
Author: Wechalekar, H.
Setchell, B.
Peirce, E.
Leigh, C.
Breed, W.
Citation: Australian Journal of Zoology, 2011; 59(4):249-256
Publisher: C S I R O Publishing
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0004-959X
1446-5698
Statement of
Responsibility: 
H. Wechalekar, B.P. Setchel, E. Peirce, C. Leigh and W.G. Breed
Abstract: In most mammalian species, the temperature of scrotal testes is several degrees lower than that of core body temperature due to the presence of a counter-current heat exchange between the coiled testicular artery and the pampiniform plexus of veins. Here we ask: have hopping mice developed a highly efficient cooling mechanism within their scrotal sac and/or germ cell resistance to high environmental temperatures? To investigate this, adult male sexually mature Notomys alexis were used to determine: (1) the temperature of the testes; (2) the extent of coiling of the testicular artery; (3) the effect of artificially induced cryptorchidism on spermatogenesis up to three weeks after surgery; and (4) the effect of whole body heat exposure of 37_38_C for 8 h per day for three consecutive days on germ cell apoptosis. The results showed that in hopping mice the testicular artery, unlike that in most other mammalian species, is not coiled although the temperature in the scrotum was found to be ~2_C lower than that of the abdomen. In cryptorchid males, 21 days after surgery, testes weights were reduced in three of five individuals but there was no statistically significant decrease after 16 h exposure to whole body heat (P = 0.07). Nevertheless, some impairment of spermatogenesis was evident in both the cryptorchid testes and in the testes after whole body heating. These results show that in hopping mice developing male germ cells are susceptible to degeneration when testes are exposed to high environmental temperatures. Thus adaptations of Notomys alexis to the arid zone have not involved any special adaptations for male germ cell survival in a hot environment. Behavioural adaptations may play a pivotal role in maintaining maximal male fertility in such extreme environmental conditions.
Rights: © CSIRO 2011
RMID: 0020117545
DOI: 10.1071/ZO11051
Appears in Collections:Environment Institute publications
Medical Sciences publications

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