Function of the Testicle
testicles (also called testes or gonads) are the male sex glands. They
are located behind the penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum. The
testicles produce sperm and testosterone. The testicles are located
outside the body because sperm develop best at a temperature several
degrees cooler than normal internal body temperature.
The germ cells inside the seminiferous tubules
(sertoli cells) create sperm. The sperm move into the epididymis where
they mature. They are stored there for a few weeks until they
eventually move up the vas deferens to combine with fluids from the
prostate and seminal vesicles to form what you normally think of as
semen. The whole process takes about 7 weeks.
The leydig cells distributed throughout the
testicle are the body's main source of testosterone. Testosterone, the
male sex hormone, is essential to the development of the reproductive
organs and other male characteristics such as body and facial hair, low
voice, and wide shoulders. Without enough testosterone, a man will
probably lose his sex drive and suffer from fatigue, depression, hot
flashes and osteoporosis.
Note that when we talk about testicular cancer, we
are normally talking about cancer of the germ cells. It is possible to
have cancer of the leydig or sertoli cells, but these tumors are not as
common and are usually not malignant. Also, since testicular cancer is
associated with the germ cells, lumps or masses in the scrotum or on
the epididymis, but not on the testicle, cannot be testicular cancer.
For more detailed information please visit the TCRC.