Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

Small tubules, surprising discoveries: from efferent ductules in the turkey to the discovery that estrogen receptor alpha is essential for fertility in the male

R.A. Hess

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Efferent ductules are small, delicate tubules that connect rete testis with the head of the epididymis, first identified by de Graaf in 1668. Although difficult to find in routine dissection, the ductules are an essential component of the male reproductive tract and in larger mammals occupy up more than 50% of the caput epididymidis. My introduction to research began with the study of efferent ductules in the domestic turkey, and to my surprise these small structures with kidneylike function become the core for numerous discoveries throughout my scientific career. In this review, only two discoveries that I found interesting will be discussed: cilia that line the efferent ductule lumen and estrogen receptors that play an essential role in regulating fluid reabsorption. A potential link between these two discoveries was uncovered in the study of efferent ductule effects observed in the estrogen receptor knockout mouse and following toxic exposure to the fungicide benomyl.


cilia, ductuli efferentes, efferent ductules, estrogen receptor, fluid resorption, ion transport, sperm granuloma.
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