Further quantification of human spermatogenesis: germ cell loss during postprophase of meiosis and its relationship to daily sperm production.
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Potential daily sperm production per gram of testicular parenchyma (PDSP/g) based on pachytene plus diplotene primary spermatocytes was determined by two methods for 10 men aged 26 to 53 years and compared with published daily sperm production per gram parenchyma (DSP/g) based on round spermatid nuclei for these same men. The PDSP/g based on primary spermatocytes was similar (P greater than 0.05) whether determined by histometric analysis (10.0 +/- 1.1 X 10(6] or from homogenates of parenchyma (10.4 +/- 1.0 X 10(6]. When PDSP/g values were compared to DSP/g (5.9 +/- 0.9 X 10(6) for the histometric or 5.5 +/- 0.8 X 10(6) for the homogenate method), 44.9 +/- 6.7% loss of potential sperm production during postprophase of meiosis was detected by the histometric approach and 48.3 +/- 7.9% loss by the homogenate method. Similar results were obtained when testes of 15 additional men aged 26 to 53 years were evaluated by the homogenate method; PDSP/g was 10.6 +/- 0.6 X 10(6), DSP/g was 5.8 +/- 0.5 X 10(6), and the loss during postprophase of meiosis was 45.3 +/- 4.4%. For all 25 men, DSP/g was significantly (P less than 0.01) correlated with PDSP/g (r = + 0.70) and with the percentage loss of potential sperm production during postprophase of meiosis (r = 0.86). Over 73% of the variation in DSP/g could be attributed to variation in the percentage loss during postprophase of meiosis. Whether faulty meiotic divisions and/or degenerating secondary spermatocytes were responsible, almost half of the potential sperm production in these 25 men was lost during postprophase of meiosis.