Anatomy of the Reproductive System
The gonads of the male are the testes, which are divided into sections called lobules. Each lobule contains one highly coiled seminiferous tubule. Each seminiferous tubule consists of various types of cells, including sustenocytes. Sustenocytes were formerly known as sustentacular cells, Sertoli cells or nurse cells. The sustenocytes support and nourish developing sperm.
Nestled among the sustenocytes in the seminiferous tubules are interstitial endocrine cells, which produce sex hormones. Interstitial endocrine cells were formerly known as Leydig cells or just interstitial cells.
One epididymis (pl: epididymides) is located on top of each testis, and receives sperm from the seminiferous tubules of the testis with which it is associated. Sperm pass through the ducts of the epididymides on their way to the interior of the male body, via the ductus deferens. The ductus deferens is also called the vas deferens. The epididymides provide a site for maturation of the sperm as well as an area for "quality control" inspection.
The micrographs associated with this lab review the major male reproductive structures: epididymides, testes, and penis.
The uterus (womb) is reviewed in this lab, but the other female reproductive organs are discussed in the next lab (gametogenesis), which includes micrographs of the ovaries and the stages of egg (sing: ovum; pl: ova) development within the ovary.