Cell-specific ablation in the testis: what have we learned?

L B Smith, P J O'Shaughnessy, D Rebourcet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Testicular development and function is the culmination of a complex process of autocrine, paracrine and endocrine interactions between multiple cell types. Dissecting this has classically involved the use of systemic treatments to perturb endocrine function, or more recently, transgenic models to knockout individual genes. However, targeting genes one at a time does not capture the more wide-ranging role of each cell type in its entirety. An often overlooked, but extremely powerful approach to elucidate cellular function is the use of cell ablation strategies, specifically removing one cellular population and examining the resultant impacts on development and function. Cell ablation studies reveal a more holistic overview of cell-cell interactions. This not only identifies important roles for the ablated cell type, which warrant further downstream study, but also, and importantly, reveals functions within the tissue that occur completely independently of the ablated cell type. To date, cell ablation studies in the testis have specifically removed germ cells, Leydig cells, macrophages and recently Sertoli cells. These studies have provided great leaps in understanding not possible via other approaches; as such, cell ablation represents an essential component in the researchers' tool-kit, and should be viewed as a complement to the more mainstream approaches to advancing our understanding of testis biology. In this review, we summarise the cell ablation models used in the testis, and discuss what each of these have taught us about testis development and function.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date7 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Cell-specific ablation in the testis: what have we learned?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this