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Open AccessReview

The Role of the Epididymis and the Contribution of Epididymosomes to Mammalian Reproduction

1
Andrology and IVF Laboratory, Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA
2
Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
3
Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84604, USA
4
Biotechnology of Animal and Human Reproduction (TechnoSperm), Unit of Cell Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Technology, University of Girona, 17003 Girona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(15), 5377; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155377
Received: 7 July 2020 / Revised: 23 July 2020 / Accepted: 28 July 2020 / Published: 29 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Vesicles in Reproduction)
It is well-established that testicular spermatozoa are immature and acquire motility and fertilization capabilities during transit throughout the epididymis. The epididymis is a duct-like organ that connects the testis to the vas deferens and is comprised of four anatomical regions: the initial segment, caput, corpus, and cauda. Sperm maturation occurs during epididymal transit by the interaction of sperm cells with the unique luminal environment of each epididymal region. In this review we discuss the epididymis as an essential reproductive organ responsible for sperm concentration, maturation (including sperm motility acquisition and fertilizing ability), protection and storage. Importantly, we also discuss specific characteristics and roles of epididymal-derived exosomes (epididymosomes) in establishing sperm competency within the intricate process of reproduction. This review suggests that an increasing body of evidence is working to develop a complete picture of the role of the epididymis in male reproduction, offspring health, and disease susceptibility. View Full-Text
Keywords: exosomes; epididymis; epididymosomes; reproduction; spermatozoa; sperm transport; sperm maturation exosomes; epididymis; epididymosomes; reproduction; spermatozoa; sperm transport; sperm maturation
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MDPI and ACS Style

James, E.R.; Carrell, D.T.; Aston, K.I.; Jenkins, T.G.; Yeste, M.; Salas-Huetos, A. The Role of the Epididymis and the Contribution of Epididymosomes to Mammalian Reproduction. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 5377. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155377

AMA Style

James ER, Carrell DT, Aston KI, Jenkins TG, Yeste M, Salas-Huetos A. The Role of the Epididymis and the Contribution of Epididymosomes to Mammalian Reproduction. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(15):5377. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155377

Chicago/Turabian Style

James, Emma R.; Carrell, Douglas T.; Aston, Kenneth I.; Jenkins, Timothy G.; Yeste, Marc; Salas-Huetos, Albert. 2020. "The Role of the Epididymis and the Contribution of Epididymosomes to Mammalian Reproduction" Int. J. Mol. Sci. 21, no. 15: 5377. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155377

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