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Environment, testicular dysgenesis and carcinoma in situ testis.

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University Department of Growth & Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


The testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) hypothesis proposes that a proportion of the male reproductive disorders-cryptorchidism, hypospadias, infertility and testicular cancer-may be symptoms of one underlying developmental disease, TDS, which is most likely a result of disturbed gonadal development in the embryo. TDS may be caused by genetic factors, environmental/life-style factors, or a combination of both. Some rare disorders of sex development of genetic origin are among the best-known examples of severe TDS. Among the environmental and life-style factors that are suspected to influence the hormonal milieu of the developing gonad are the endocrine disrupters. A prenatal exposure to commonly used chemicals, e.g. phthalates, may result in a TDS-like phenotype in rats. Currently, this animal model is the best model for TDS. In humans the situation is much more complex, and TDS exists in a wide range of phenotypes: from the mildest and most common form, in which impaired spermatogenesis is the only symptom, to the most severe cases, in which the patient may develop testicular cancer. It is of great importance that clinicians in different specialties treating patients with TDS are aware of the association between the different symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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