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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.49  Rio de Janeiro Mar. 1951 

Análise citológica e cariométrica da ação da colchina sôbre a espermatogênese dos hemípteros

G. Schreiber

J. Pellegrino


The action of colchicine upon the spermatogenesis of Triatoma infestans, (Hemipt. Heteroptera), has been studied and the different categories of giant spermatids that appear during the treatment have been compared with the nuclear volumes of the whole series of normal spermatogenetic stages. The following facts have been ascertained: 1) 4 hours after the treatment the gonial mitotic metaphases, and the 1st. and 2nd. metaphases of meiosis are stopped. The prophasic stages of meiosis and diakynesis appear to be normal. After 9 days of treatment, all the tetrads are broken in the meiotic metaphases and the cells appear with 44 and 22 chromosomes respectively, scattered in the cytoplasm. 2) At 9 days, practically all spermatogenetic stages have disappeared except for a few cysts of spermatogonia, and practically the whole testicle is full of cysts of spermatozoa and spermatid, with some large zones of necrosis with pycnotic nuclei. The spermatids appear to be of different sizes and the statistical analysis of the nuclear volumes gives a polymodal hystogram with 4 modes, whose volumes are in the ratio of 1:2:4:8. Ripe spermatozoa seem to have a certain volume variability, that has not been possible to analyse quantitatively. All these facts confirm what DOOLEY found in the colchicinized Orthoptera testicle. 3) The caryometric analysis conducted statistically on the normal stages of the spermatogenesis (resting spermatogonia, gonial prophases, leptotene, "confused stage", diakynesis, and spermatid) revealed the following facts: a) Considering the volume of the resting, spermatogonia as 1, their mitotic prophases have a volume of 2. Some rare prophases appear to have a volume of 4 and probably belong to tetraployd spermatogonia normally present in the testicle of Hemiptera. b) The first spermatocyte at the beginning of the auxocitary growth (leptotene) has a volume of 2, which is equal to that of them gonial prophase. It grows further during the "confused stage" and reduplicates, reaching thus the volume of 4. Diakynesis has a rather variable nuclear volume and it is higher than volume 4. This is probably of physico-chemical nature and not a growth increase. c) The spermatid at the beginning of the spermiogenetic process has a volume of 1 which is very constant and homogeneous. 4) These results can be summarized concluding that the meiotic process begins from a spermatogonium at the end of his mitotic interphasic growth (vol. 2) and instead of entering into the mitotic prophase transforms itself into the leptotene spermatocyte. During the diplotene ("confused stage") the volume of the nucleus doubles once more and reaches volume 4. In consequence of the two successive meiotic divisions the spermatid, although having an haploid number of chromosomes, has a nuclear volume of 1, just like the diploid spermatogonium. The interpretation of this strange result probably comes from the existence of the "tertiary split" in the chromosomes of the haploid set, that has been illustrated in the Hemiptera by HUGUES SCHRADER and in Orthoptera by MICKEY and co-workers. The tertiary split indicates that the chromosomes of the haploid set are constituted from almost two chromonemata, and this double constitution corresponds to the double cycle of reduplication that takes place during the spermatogenesis starting from the resting gonia. In Triatoma infestans the tertiary split appears in the chromosomes in the 1st. and 2nd. metaphases and in the diakynesis. In the blocked metaphases at the 9th. day of colchicinization some of the 44 elements scattered in the cytoplasm, show, when properly oriented, the split very clearly. Some new and strange facts revealed by SCHRADER and LEUCHTEMBERGER in Arvelius suggest the possibility of other interpretations of the rhythmic growth in special cases. There appears the necessity of more knowledge about the multiple or simple constitution of the chromosomes in somatic and spermatogonial mitosis.


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