Skip to main content


Le transit epididymo-deferentiel

Sperm transport through the epididymis and vas deferens

  • 192 Accesses


The epididymis and vas deferens constitute not only a simple conduit for sperm transport but also play an important physiological role in the development of sperm fertilizing ability. The epithelial compartment plays a major functional role in determining the biochemical composition of the luminal fluid in which the spermatozoa undergo a series of structural, biochemical and metabolic changes. During epididymal transit spermatozoa acquire their capacity for motility and also their ability to attach and bind to the zona pellucida and fertilize the oocyte. In man, sperm maturation may occur in the extreme proximal region of the epididymis. The regulation of epididymal and vasa deferential function, as well as sperm maturation, are under androgenic control


Le conduit épididymo-déférentiel assure non seulement le transport mais l’acquisition du pouvoir fécondant des spermatozoïdes. Les fonctions du compartiment épithélial jouent un rôle déterminant dans la composition du liquide intraluminal dans lequel les spermatozoïdes subissent des modifications structurales, biochimiques et métaboliques. Durant le transit dans l’épididyme, les spermatozoïdes acquièrent leur mobilité et l’aptitude à se fixer sur la zone pellucide et à féconder l’ovocyte. Chez l’homme, la maturation des spermatozoïdes peut se produire dans la portion plus proximale du conduit épididymaire. La régulation des fonctiolls de l’épididyme et du canal déférent ainsi que la maturation des spermatozoïdes sont sous le contrôle des androgènes


  1. 1

    -Alnann RP: A critical review of methods for evaluation of spermatogenesis from seminal characteristics. J Androl, 1981, 2: 37–58

  2. 2

    -Blaquier JA, Cameo MS, Dawidowski A, Gonzalez Echeverria F, Sanjurjo C: On the role of epididymal factors in sperm maturation in man. In Perspectives in Andrology, Serio M, ed, Serono Symposia Publications, New York, Raven Press, 1989, 53: 37–44.

  3. 3

    -Beckman WC Jr, Fried PA, Stafford SJ, Mickey DD: Autoradiographic localization of tritiumlabeled in human vas deferens. J Androl, 1986, 7: 97–202.

  4. 4

    -Chinoy NJ: Structure and physiology of mammalian vas deferens in relation to fertility regulation. J Biosci, 1985, 7: 215–221.

  5. 5

    -Cooper TG: The Epididymis, Speam maturation and Fertilization. Springer Verlag Heidelberg, 1986.

  6. 6

    -Cooper TG: In defense of a function for the human epididymis. Fertil Steril, 1990, 54: 965–975.

  7. 7

    -Cooper TG: Secretory proteins from the epididymis and their clinical relevance. Andrologia, 1990, 22: 155–165.

  8. 8

    -Dacheux JL, Chevrier C, Lanson Y: Motility and surface transformations of human spermatozoa during epididymal transit. Proc Nat Acad Sci, 1987, 513: 560–563.

  9. 9

    -Dadoune JP. Modifications nucléaires des spermatides et des spermatozoïdes. Evaluation de la maturité nucléaire. Contr. Fertil Sex, 1991, 19: 833–839

  10. 10

    -Delpech S, Lecomte P, Lecomte C: Etude in vitro chez l’homme de la liaison des spermatozoïdes épididymaires à la zona pellucida, J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod, 1988, 17: 339–342.

  11. 11

    -Felden F, Leheup B, Fremont S et al.: The plasma membrane of epididymal epithelial cells has specific receptor which binds to androgen binding protein and sex steroid-binding protein. J Steroid Biochem Molec Biol, 1992, 42: 279–285

  12. 12

    -Junera HR, Alfonsi MF, Fain-Maurel MA, Dadoune JP: Characterization of regional proteins in tissues and fluids in the human epididymis. Reprod Nutr Develop, 1988, 28: 1267–1273.

  13. 13

    -Mathieu C, Guérin JF, Cognat M, Lejeune H, Pinatel MC, Lornage J: Motility and fertilizing capacity of epididymal human spermatozoa in normal and pathological cases, Fertil Steril, 1992, 57: 871–876.

  14. 14

    -Murakami M, Sugita A, Hamasaki M. The vas deferens in man and monkey: spermiophagy in its ampulla. In: Atlas of human reproduction by scanning electron microscopy. 1982 E. Hafez, P Keneman eds, Lancaster, Boston, the Hague MTP Press limited, pp: 187–195.

  15. 15

    -Nagdas SK, Skudlarek M, Orgebin-Christ MC, Tulsiani DRP: Biochemical alterations in the proacrosin-acrosin system during epididymal maturation of the rat spermatozoa. J Androl, 1992, 13: 36–43.

  16. 16

    -Orgebin-Christ MC. Physiologie de l’épididyme et maturation du sperme: état actuel des connaisances. Contr. Fertil Sex, 1986: 14: 487–495.

  17. 17

    -Robaire B, Hermo L: Efferents ducts, epididymis and vas deferens: structure, functions and their regulation. In: The Physiology of Reproduction. E. Knobil, J. Neil et al eds, Raven Press New York, 1988, 1: 999–1080.

  18. 18

    -Ross P, Kan FWK, Antaki P, Vigneault N, Chapdelaine A, Roberts KD: Protein synthesis and secretion in the human epididymis and immunoreactivity with sperm antibodies. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 1990, 26: 1223.

  19. 19

    -Rowley MJ, Teshima F, Heller CG: Duration of transit of spermatozoa through the human male ductulal system. Fertil. Steril, 1970, 21: 390–395.

  20. 20

    -Schoysman RJ, Bedford JM: The role of the human epididymis in sperm maturation and sperm storage as reflected in the consequences of epididymovasostomy. Fertil Steril, 1986, 46: 293–299.

  21. 21

    -Silber SJ: Apparent fertility of human spermatozoa from the caput epididymis. J Androl, 1989, 10: 263–269.

  22. 22

    -Taragnat C, Berger M, Jean CI. Identification and androgen-dependence of proteins in the mouse vas deferens. Int J Androl, 1986, 9: 299–311.

  23. 23

    -Yeung CH, Cooper TG, Senge T: Histochemical localization and quantification of α-glucosidase in the epididymis of men and laboratory animals. Biol Reprod, 1990, 42: 69–676.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Jean -Pierre Dadoune.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dadoune, J.-. Le transit epididymo-deferentiel. Androl. 2, 44–47 (1992).

Download citation

Key words

  • epididymis
  • Vas deferens
  • Physiology
  • Sperm maturation

Mots clés

  • Epididyme
  • Canal déférent
  • Physiologie
  • Maturation des spermatozoïdes