Apoptosis in mammalian sperm
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This physiological cell death, also known as programmed cell death, takes place during the entire growth period of an organism. In general, somatic cell apoptosis can be induced through extrinsic mechanisms acting at the plasma membrane, mitochondrial or nuclear levels. Recent studies have demonstrated that apoptosis is an underlying mechanism of germ cell death during normal spermatogenesis and that it is a major mechanism in regulating spermatogenesis of various mammalian species. While apoptosis in somatic cells and in (testicular) spermatocytes and spermatids is well established, the presence and significance of apoptosis in ejaculated animals sperm is still unresolved.
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Monika Trzcinska, Dzial Biotechnologii Rozrodu Zwierzat, Instytut Zootechniki, 32-083 Balice k. Krakowa, Poland