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Int Urol Nephrol. 1999;31(4):519-23.

Significance of serum FSH levels and testicular morphology in infertile males.

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Department of Urology, University of Ankara, School of Medicine, Turkey.



To determine the relationship between plasma levels of FSH and testicular spermatogenic patterns.


Testicular biopsies were obtained from 99 infertile men. Biopsies were performed either in order to distinguish the type of azoospermia (obstructive/non-obstructive) or because of severely subnormal semen variables. Serum FSH was measured by immunoassay (normal range is less than 7 mIU/ml).


Statistically significant difference was detected between patients with Sertoli cell only syndrome and normal spermatogenesis, hypospermatogenesis and maturation arrest (p<0.01, p<0.01, p<0.05, respectively). No statistically significant differences were found between normal spermatogenesis, hypospermatogenesis and maturation arrest.


Our study revealed that elevation of serum FSH correlates only with the appearance of Sertoli cell only syndrome. We think that azoospermic or severely oligoasthenoteratozoospermic patients with highly elevated plasma FSH levels (three times the normal) could be excluded from separate testicular biopsy, because these patients are not suitable for conventional treatments. If he is willing to undergo an IVF program the sperm will often be present, no matter what the testicular histology is to be used for assisted reproductive techniques, particularly ICSI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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