Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Biology and Microbiology


Apoptosis is a mode of regulated cell death characterized by specific morphological changes and a cascade of biochemical events. Recent studies of spermatogenic cell populations have uncovered an essential role of apoptosis for the regulation of numbers of germ cells in testes. During normal spermatogenesis, more than half of the germ cells undergo apoptosis, but the physiological significance and molecular mechanisms of this programmed cell death are largely unknown. Preliminary investigations have uncovered strong correlations between the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), a flow cytometric assay which measures abnormal denaturation of sperm nuclear DNA in situ; and DNA strand breaks, one of the classic hallmarks of apoptotic cells. By applying test methods which detect biochemical changes in apoptotic somatic cells, we have investigated the possibility of an apoptotic process in testicular and sperm cell populations that demonstrate increased susceptibility to acid-induced DNA denaturation as measured by SCSA parameters.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Spermatogenesis in animals Mammals -- Spermatozoa Apoptosis Germ cells



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University