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Hum Pathol. 1989 Jun;20(6):572-8.

Testicular atrophy in homosexual AIDS patients: an immune-mediated phenomenon?

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Department of Pathology, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY.


An immunopathologic analysis of the testes of 20 homosexual acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients was performed to investigate the hypothesis that the testicular atrophy of these patients represents an immune-mediated process. The findings were compared to those in a control group of heterosexual men without AIDS. The testes of the homosexual AIDS patients showed an overall lower degree of spermatogenesis with more prominent interstitial inflammation and thickening of the tubular basement membrane. However, direct immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase studies failed to demonstrate significant differences in the prevalence of immune complex deposits along the tubular basement membrane in the two study groups. No electron-dense deposits were demonstrated in cases examined ultrastructurally. Therefore, this study does not support the hypothesis that the testicular atrophy of homosexual AIDS patients is a manifestation of autoimmune orchitis. Further studies are needed to elucidate the pathogenesis of the testicular atrophy in AIDS, as this appears to be a specific manifestation of the disease.

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