Ductuli efferentes of the male Golden Syrian hamster reproductive tract

J. Ford, K. Carnes, R. A. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efferent ductules are responsible for the transportation of spermatozoa from the testis to the epididymis and their epithelium is responsible for the reabsorption of over 90% of the luminal fluid. The purpose of this research was to characterize the gross morphology and histology of efferent ductules in the male Golden Syrian hamster. The efferent ductules emerge from rete testis with a unique polarity at the apex or cephalic pole of the testis. The number of efferent ductules varied from 3 to 10 with an average of 6.0 and blind ending ducts were observed in approximately 56% of the males. The ductules merged into a single common duct prior to entering the caput epididymidis. The proximal efferent ductule lumen was wider than the distal (conus and common ducts), consistent with reabsorption of most of the luminal fluid, as was morphology of the ductal epithelium. Non-ciliated cells in the proximal region had prominent endocytic apparatuses, showing both coated pits and apical tubules in the apical cytoplasm. Large basolateral, intercellular spaces were also present in the epithelium of the proximal region. Distal non-ciliated cells had an abundance of large endosomes and lysosomal granules. Localisation of sodium/hydrogen exchanger-3 (NHE3; SLC9A3) and aquaporins 1 and 9 (AQP1, AQP9) along the microvillus border was also consistent with ion transport and fluid reabsorption by this epithelium. In comparison, the caput epididymidis epithelium expressed only AQP9 immunostaining. Another unusual feature of the hamster efferent ductules was the presence of glycogen aggregates in the basal cytoplasm of small groups of epithelial cells, but only in the proximal ducts near the rete testis. Androgen (AR), estrogen (ESR1 and ESR2) and vitamin D receptors (VDR) were also abundant in epithelial nuclei of proximal and distal efferent ductules. In comparison, caput epididymidis showed very little immunostaining for ESR1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-520
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Androgen receptor
  • Aquaporin
  • Efferent ductules
  • Epididymis
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Histology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • NHE3
  • Rete testis
  • Testis
  • Ultrastructure
  • Vitamin D receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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