The seminiferous epithelia of old mice (33 mo of age) are composed of spermatogonia and Sertoli cells. Histochemical examination using the anti-c- kit monoclonal antibody demonstrated that the number of differentiating type A spermatogonia decreases with age. To elucidate the differential activity of old mouse spermatogonia, we transplanted extremely thin seminiferous epithelia of old BDF1 mice into W/W(v) mouse testes and examined whether or not they could reinitiate differentiation. Artificially cryptorchid mice were used as the control. At 2 wk after transplantation, spermatocytes and round spermatids were detected in transplanted seminiferous tubules of the control, whereas the most advanced spermatogenic cells in those of old mice were spermatocytes. At 4 wk after transplantation, although elongated spermatids were detected in transplanted tubules of the control, haploid cells (spermatids) were still undetectable in those derived from old mice. Thus, meiosis was never restored, although spermatogonia of old mice can reinitiate differentiation into spermatocytes under suitable testicular conditions. Since it has been reported in several mammalian species that age-related changes in the testicular microenvironment lead to the gerontal cessation of spermatogenesis, the present results suggest that both a defective extratubular environment and a defective intratubular environment may cause the cessation of spermatogenesis in old BDF1 mice.