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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: May 2011

6 - Genetics of male reproductive medicine

Summary

This chapter briefly reviews the embryology of the male reproductive system, whose knowledge is required to understand the physiopathology of cryptorchidism and of hypospadias. One distinctive feature of hormone secretion through the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis is that they regulate their own secretion through negative feedback inhibition. Androgens are essential for spermatogenesis, maturation of secondary sexual characteristics, masculine settlement of the bone-muscle apparatus, and libido. Testosterone is the most important circulating androgen in men's blood. Sperm progression in the seminal tract during ejaculation and contractions of the epididymis are supported by oxytocin and guided by sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Sperm-egg interaction is a specialized process that leads to fertilization. The occurrence of acrosomal exocytosis facilitates sperm penetration through the zona pellucida, and exposure of certain molecules on the sperm equatorial segment that participate in fusion with the oolemma.

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