Morphologic changes in efferent ductules and epididymis in estrogen receptor-α knockout mice

Rex A. Hess, David Bunick, Dennis B. Lubahn, Qing Zhou, Jerry Bouma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estrogen has been shown to have an important role in fluid reabsorption in efferent ductules of the testis. Our previous study of the estrogen receptor-α knockout mouse (ERKO) showed that the efferent ductules and rete testis were primary targets of estrogen receptor function. In the present study, a more comprehensive evaluation of the ERKO male reproductive tract was performed to determine the severity of effects in efferent ductules as well as the epididymis. The following observations were found in ERKO males: 1) blind-ending efferent ductules were more prevalent in ERKO than in wild type (WT) tissues; 2) glycogen-containing cells were observed at the rete testis-efferent ductule junction; 3) the tubular diameters of the efferent ductules and initial segment epididymides were dilated; 4) efferent ductules were dilated between 130 to 300% over wild type ductules; 5) efferent ductule epithelial height was reduced nearly 50%; 6) microvilli of nonciliated cells of efferent ductules were 64% shorter in length; 7) cilia were reduced in number; 8) initial segment epithelium was displaced into regions adjacent to the rete testis and in short segments of the common region of efferent ductule; 9) apical, narrow, and clear cells of the epididymis also were abnormal in some regions; 10) in the corpus and cauda regions, sperm granulomas were noted in one third of the ERKO males. In conclusion, the entire reproductive tract is affected in ERKO males. The cells showing the greatest effects were estrogenreceptor-positive cells. It appears that in the ERKO mouse there are developmental anomalies that must be considered separately from adult dysfunctional changes in the male reproductive tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of andrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Histopathology
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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