The inhibitor of apoptosis proteins, c-IAP1 and c-IAP2, are highly expressed in rat testis and potentially play a regulatory role in testicular apoptosis. To better understand their functions during spermatogenesis, we have analyzed their spatio-temporal distribution in rat testis, how their expression is controlled by the paracrine stem-cell factor (SCF) and how they affect Fas-mediated apoptosis. Both c-IAP1 and c-IAP2 showed cycles of transcriptional expression, throughout the seminiferous epithelial cycle. c-IAP1 protein showed a diffuse nuclear distribution in type B spermatogonia, preleptotene, leptotene, and zygotene spermatocytes. In pachytene spermatocytes, c-IAP1 colocalized with SUMO-1 in the XY-body. c-IAP2 protein was cytoplasmic in spermatocytes, from stage VI pachytene onwards, round spermatids, elongated spermatids and Leydig cells. Its expression was upregulated by SCF. Inhibition of IAP activity resulted in a greater sensitivity of germ cells to Fas-mediated apoptosis. These results suggest an important role for IAPs in the regulation of spermatogenic apoptosis.