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J Clin Pathol. 2004 Aug;57(8):802-6.

Sertoli cell nodules in the undescended testis: a histochemical, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural study of hyaline deposits.

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Department of Pathology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of Natal, Private Bag 7, Congella, Durban, 4013, South Africa.



To document the morphology, immunohistochemical staining properties, and ultrastructural features of hyaline material in Sertoli cell nodules of undescended testis and contrast them with those of sex cord tumour with annular tubules (SCTAT), which is histologically similar. To highlight the need to distinguish these nodules from other Sertoli cell hyperplasias, such as intratubular Sertoli cell proliferations, which occur in specific clinical contexts.


A retrospective study of 46 orchidectomy specimens from cryptorchid testes, 27 of which contained Sertoli cell nodules. Special histochemical stains, immunohistochemical stains for type IV collagen and fibronectin, and ultrastructural examination of the hyaline material were performed using tissue from paraffin wax embedded tissue blocks.


The hyaline deposits in SCTAT and Sertoli cell nodules had similar staining patterns-periodic acid Schiff (PAS) and PAS-diastase positivity with variable staining of Martius scarlet blue and Masson trichrome. Type IV collagen immunoreactivity was seen in hyaline areas, although fibronectin was negative. Electron microscopy of hyaline areas confirmed a compact matrix identical to components of the basement membrane in the adjacent seminiferous tubules.


This study describes an unusual form of Sertoli cell proliferation in undescended testes, which must be distinguished from Sertoli cell tumours and other forms of proliferation. In addition, the hyaline material within Sertoli cell nodules in the cryptorchid testis is histochemically, immunohistochemically, and ultrastructurally consistent with both matrix and fibrous components of seminiferous tubule basement membranes. Increased production of basement membrane material, with subsequent invagination into tubules, is the most likely origin of this material.

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