The testis is devoted to two important tasks: haploid cell production and sexual steroid synthesis. A number of highly sophisticated and unique strategies operate during spermatogenesis, a process crucial for reproduction, heredity and evolution. It is particularly important to decipher the underlying molecular mechanisms whose function can be perverted in pathological situations, such as infertility and testicular cancers, which represent an increasing biomedical issue today. This review summarises the currently available data concerning some key molecular components that are altered or potentially involved in male infertility and testicular tumors, with the aim of defining some common “hot spots”. We particularly focused on genetically engineered in vivo models in which testicular functions are altered and we pinpointed to the potential involvement of the targeted genes in testicular pathologies. Those molecular mechanisms peculiar to the male gonad can be envisioned as a basis for the design of novel drugs potentially dedicated to testicular dysfunction.
Keywords: testis, infertility, cancer, human, reproduction
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