History of the Sertoli Cell Discovery

Rex A. Hess, Luiz R. França

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses the discovery of Sertoli cell by Enrico Sertoli, an Italian physiologist and histologist who was a native of Sondrio. Sertoli collected several pieces of human testes preserved in a sublimate solution (a precipitating solution formed by adding ammonia to mercuric chloride). Sertoli used an innovative model to investigate the semniferous epithelium, because in humans, unlike in mice and rats, the Sertoli cell occupies about 37% of the epithelium. In contrast, the Sertoli cell occupies about 15-20% in the rodent species. The human testis has a higher ratio of Sertoli to germ cells due to the reduced efficiency of spermatogenesis. Sertoli used several different types of preparations of testes, including microdissections of individual seminiferous tubules, thin sections of the testis after sublimate incubation, pieces of fresh tissue, and frayed sections of tubules. Sertoli cells originated from germ cells or that part of the Sertoli cell population gave rise to germ cells and formed other Sertoli cells in an amitotic process. © 2005

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSertoli Cell Biology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780126477511
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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