Spermatogenesis, the process of spermatozoa production, is regulated by several endocrine factors, including testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and estradiol 17β. For spermatogenesis to reach completion, developing germ cells must traverse the seminiferous epithelium while remaining transiently attached to Sertoli cells. If germ cell adhesion were to be compromised for a period of time longer than usual, germ cells would slough the seminiferous epithelium and infertility would result. Presently, Sertoli-germ cell adhesion is known to be mediated largely by classical and desmosomal cadherins. More recent studies, however, have begun to expand long-standing concepts and to examine the roles of other proteins such as intercellular adhesion molecules. In this review, we focus on the biology of intercellular adhesion molecules in the mammalian testis, hoping that this information is useful in the design of future studies.
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