noun, plural: rete testes
The testicle, or the testis, is regarded as the male gonad of many animals. It contains several tubules. The tubules that are lined by epithelium are referred to as seminiferous tubules. The convoluted seminiferous tubules serve as the site of spermatogenesis, which is the process of forming spermatozoa (male gamete). The spermatozoa arise from the spermatogonial cells located in the convoluted seminiferous tubules. The short, straight terminals of these tubules are referred to as straight seminiferous tubules. The straight seminiferous tubules connect the convoluted seminiferous tubules to the rete testis. Thus the straight seminiferous tubules act as passageway of spermatozoa from the convoluted seminiferous tubules to the rete testis.
The rete testis is a network of tubules in the hilum of the testicle. It connects the straight seminiferous tubules to the efferent ducts. The efferent ducts, in turn, connect the rete testis with the initial section of the epididymis. The rete testis consists of a single layer of cuboidal epithelial cells. Microvilli and a cilium are found on the cell surface.
The rete testis serves as a channel for spermatozoa coming from the seminiferous tubules to the efferent ducts. Apart from it, the rete testis serves as a site for fluid reabsorption. Their function is essential so that the spermatozoa become concentrated before they enter the epididymis.
The female counterpart of rete testis is the rete ovarii.
Word origin: Latin rete (network)