The endocrine and gametogenic status of the testes were studied in 9 healthy adult rhesus monkeys of proven fertility throughout a one-year period. Testosterone levels were estimated by radioimmunoassay in blood samples collected at 4 h intervals over a 24 h period once a month. Semen samples and testicular biopsies were also examined once a month. A well-defined circandian rhythm was evident in serum levels of testosterone. The rhythmicity was less pronounced in February and September. The 24 h mean levels of serum testosterone were high between the months of August to March and low in the months of May to July. All animals did not uniformly respond to electro-ejaculation in April and May. Semen volume and total number of spermatozoa were maximal between September and March and least from April to August. Testicular biopsies indicated that all stages of spermatogenesis were evident between September and March and the spermatogenic activity was less evident between April and August. The contents of Sertoli cells showed a seasonal cyclicity; they were laden with lipid droplets during April to August when spermatogenesis was quiescent and vacuolated during September to March when spermatogenesis was active. These studies indicate that the testing of contraceptive drugs needs to be restricted to months of September to March in male rhesus monkeys otherwise, it is possible that the naturally occurring reproductive quiscence may be attributed to the effect of the drug being tested. The data accrued from the present studies also provide quantitative information on circulating levels of testosterone which could be used as a reference background while evaluating the contraceptive drug-effects in male rhesus monkeys.
Volume 48, 2023
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