Assessment of morphological and functional changes in the mouse testis and epididymal sperms following busulfan treatment.
Practical applications of spermatogonial transplantation require good rates of colonization by the donor cells. Recipient testes are usually depleted of competing endogenous spermatogonia by administration of 32-44 mg busulfan kg(-1) body weight before transplantation. However, it is not clear that this is the optimum dose, especially for immunodeficient mice. In the present study, the response of adult RAG2(-/-)/gamma(c)(-/-) (RAG2) male mice to treatment with 10-50 mg busulfan kg(-1) body weight was determined in terms of mortality rates, testicular masses and histology, and colonization of seminiferous tubules by transplanted spermatogonia. Mortality increased from 0 to 50% at doses between 20 mg busulfan kg(-1) and 40 mg busulfan kg(-1), whereas the maximum effects on testicular mass and histology were observed at 20 mg busulfan kg(-1). Colonization of testes by genetically marked spermatogonia after treatment of mice with 20 mg busulfan kg(-1) was equivalent to rates previously reported in recipients treated with 32-44 mg busulfan kg(-1). Thus, 20 mg busulfan kg(-1) appears to be the optimum dose for preparing RAG2 mice for spermatogonial transplantation. However, because the steepness of the dose-response curves indicates that direct administration of busulfan is not ideal for this purpose, 15 mg busulfan kg(-1) was administered to pregnant females at various times between day 10.5 and day 16.5 of gestation to determine whether this would deplete the number of germ cells in male offspring. Although there were large variations in testicular mass and histology, no mortality was observed and administration of busulfan at day 10.5 or 12.5 after mating delayed initiation of spermatogenesis, indicating that prenatal administration of busulfan combined with neonatal transplantation might be an effective method for further increasing rates of colonization by donor spermatogonia.