Blind‐ending tubules and branching patterns of the rat ductuli efferentes

Robert F. Guttroff, Paul S. Cooke, Rex A. Hess

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The ductuli efferentes of Sprague‐Dawley rats were studied by microdissection and microscopic evaluation to document the presence of blindending tubules (ductuli aberrantes) and to describe morphological and ultrastructural differences between normally open ductules and blind‐ending tubules. The branching patterns of the ductuli efferentes varied considerably between animals. A majority of the animals studied had either six or seven ductuli connected to the rete testis, with some animals having as few as four or as many as eight. Pairs of ductules began merging in the conus vasculosa, ultimately forming a single terminal duct within the capsule of the initial segment epididymidis. In a majority of animals, the junctions were unequally matched and located at various positions within the conus. Blind‐ending tubules, found in 60% of the animals, were surrounded by thick connective tissue, and had a smaller diameter (78.7 ± 1.4 μm) than normal ductules in the conus vasculosa (119.5 ± 2.1 μm) or the terminus (102.2 ± 1.5 μm). The lumina of blind‐ending tubules were contracted and did not contain sperm. Nonciliated cells in the epithelium of blind‐ending tubules contained fewer PAS‐positive granules and electron‐dense bodies (lysosomes) than nonciliated cells in normal ductules. Consideration of these characteristics will prevent blind‐ending tubules from being mistaken for pathological changes in efferent ductules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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