Structure and function of accessory sex glands in the male blind mole rat (Spalax ehrenbergi)

A. Gottreich, I. Hammel, L. Yogev, B. Bartoov, J. Terkel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The blind mole rat (Spalax ehrenbergi) is a solitary and aggressive subterranean rodent. Our study revealed the unique anatomical structure of reproductive glands, ejaculate, and spermatozoon of the male blind mole rat and the effect of testosterone on those glands. Unlike other rodents, only the prostate and Cowper's accessory sex glands are present, whereas coagulating gland, seminal vesicle, and preputial gland are absent. Three groups of male blind mole rats were examined: intact, injected, and castrated animals, and resulting differences in morphology of reproductive glands were examined histologically using quantitative measurements. Lowered testosterone levels in castrated blind mole rats caused a reduction in weight and star volume (υ.) of the prostate and Cowper's glands. Testosterone injection produced an increase in mass of the prostate gland but not in Cowper's glands, whereas both prostate tubuli υ. and Cowper's gland tubuli υ. also increased. The blind mole rat possesses only 2 accessory sex glands, both of which are influenced by testosterone levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Castration
  • Cowper's gland
  • Injection
  • Morphometry
  • Prostate
  • Spalax ehrenbergi
  • Spermatozoon
  • Testosterone


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