I was reading Developmental biology by Gilbert and stumbled upon a fact that Sertoli cells provide protection to the developing sperms with no futher explanation.

I googled it and found a few books mentioning that it protects sperms from cell mediated immunity and antisperm antibodies. Yet I found a website called fertilitypedia that said:

Sertoli cells do not only control the process of spermatogenesis, but they are also responsible for creating so called immunologically privileged area in the testicles. It means, that Sertoli cell manage to keep blood separated from seminiferous tubules through the connection between them, called tight junction. Tight junction keeps bloodborne substances from reaching germ cells, so all stages of germ cells are protected from the body immunity. Tight junction also keeps surface antigens found on developing germ cells from eluding into the bloodstream so no autoimmune reaction could happen. Since Sertoli cells form the block between the blood and lumen of seminiferous epithelium, they are also in control of the entry and exit of nutrients, hormones and other chemicals into the tubules of the testis.

I'm unable to verify this explanation from the cited sources as none contain the mentioned information.

So my question, how does it actually protect the sperms?

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    $\begingroup$ Have you tried Wikipedia? I know Wikipedia is far from an ideal source but that page has some references as well as links to other wiki pages that are relevant to your question such as one on the blood-testis barrier. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 6 '16 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause you can write an answer if you want, then I can mark it as solved. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Dec 6 '16 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause I gave it a second thought, things written in Wikipedia, something I didn't consider at first, there are suppositions without any citation. So I think they are not good references. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Dec 8 '16 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ Did you try my suggestion to search google scholar for reviews? This isn't a particularly controversial issue, it seems pretty well established and agreed on. The Wikipedia pages are not fully cited line by line but all the information is likely in the books and papers that are cited if you actually read them. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 8 '16 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Found one.@BryanKrause $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Dec 9 '16 at 5:07

The Wikipedia pages on Blood-testis barrier and Sertoli cells have some information relevant to your question, with some academic references included.

You could also search for reviews on Sertoli cells on Google Scholar - several of the first returned results seem relevant, if you are able to access them.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you consider editing? I'm afraid but this doesn't answer the question ''How does it actually protect the sperms?''. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Dec 6 '16 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't your question contain that answer? Tight junctions between the Sertoli cells keep a barrier between the immune system and the developing sperm to prevent autoimmune reactions, because the sperm express antigens not found in the rest of the body. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 6 '16 at 19:19

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