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Int J Androl. 2004 Oct;27(5):257-65.

Insulin-like 3 signalling in testicular descent.

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  • 1Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Undescended testis is one of the most common congenital defects in the newborn boys and the common cause of cryptorchidism. If left untreated, this condition is strongly associated with infertility and drastically increased risk of testicular cancer in adulthood. Testis position in developing males is defined by sexual dimorphic differentiation of two gonadal ligaments, gubernaculum and cranial suspensory ligament. Recent transgenic mouse studies identified testicular hormone insulin-like 3 (INSL3), and its receptor, GREAT/LGR8, as the critical regulators of the gubernacular differentiation. Mutation analysis of the two genes in patients with undescended testis revealed functionally deleterious mutations, which may be responsible for the abnormal phenotype in some of the patients.

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