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Rat testes were confined to the abdominal cavity by operation. After 1 to 26 days they were excised, fixed with osmium tetroxide, sectioned, and examined with the electron microscope. Changes in the axial filament complex of the spermatid flagellum appeared 2 days after operation, and the arrangement of filaments in the middle- and main pieces of some spermatid tails was disordered as compared to the 9 + 2 filament arrangement in the tails of the control spermatids and in other flagella and cilia. In cross-sections, the filaments in the experimental material were nine or less in number, and each of them was single and dense. Occasionally some were double, and in those instances one filament was dense and the other was light and tubular. The central filaments were obscure. In longitudinal sections, the filaments were not parallel to the main axis of the flagella or to each other. It was assumed that the central filaments were more sensitive to the experimental conditions than the peripheral pairs of filaments. Furthermore, the light filaments of the peripheral pairs were more sensitive than the dense filaments. Besides the axial filament complex, the fibrous sheath which surrounds it in the main piece was also changed. The plasma membrane of the changed flagella disappeared or became fragmented.
The Journal of Cell Biology