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Fertil Steril. 1980 Sep;34(3):255-8.

The blood-testis barrier in men with varicocele: a lanthanum tracer study.


Testicular biopsy specimens were obtained from 28 otherwise healthy males (22 to 37 years old) with diagnosed varicocele. Tissue was processed for ultrastructural and intercellular tracer studies using lanthanum nitrate. In all cases Sertoli-Sertoli junctional complexes appeared structurally intact and functionally normal on the basis of their ability to occlude lanthanum from the adluminal testicular compartment. Our results indicate that, even in the presence of severe dissolution of the adluminal testicular compartment as evidenced in varicocele, both the basal compartment and the blood-testis barrier remain relatively normal. In varicocele, not only does the blood-testis barrier remain effective in segregating the two testicular compartments, but it appears to act as a device that limits the progression of apical Sertoli cell cytoplasmic degeneration and seminiferous epithelial dissolution, thereby allowing a pool of progenitor germ cells to be maintained and protected in the basal compartment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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