Anatomy and Physiology of the Male Reproductive System and Potential Targets of Toxicants
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2018 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved. This introductory article offers a basic overview of male reproduction, specifically the anatomy and physiology of the male reproductive system. Comprehension of normal anatomy and physiology is necessary to (1) fully understand the severity of toxicant-induced damage to structures and/or functions of the male reproductive system, (2) design more powerful experiments that analyze potential male reproductive toxicants, and (3) identify numerous potential targets of toxicants in the male reproductive system. This article begins with an overview of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis and its interaction with additional components of the male reproductive system. This is then followed by detailed presentation of the composition of the testis and the interrelationships of the testicular cells, spermatogenesis, the excurrent ducts that carry spermatozoa out of the testis, the accessory sex glands that supply the seminal plasma of semen, the cellular communication within the testis, the reproductive tract's development, and normal male sexual behavior. The article's conclusion emphasizes the foundational importance of the male reproductive system to designing, conducting, and interpreting reproductive toxicology research.