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Andrologia. 1987 Sep-Oct;19(5):532-8.

Idiopathic hemochromatosis in a 45-year-old infertile man.

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Dermatologic Clinic and Policlinic, Technical University of Munich, Federal Republic of Germany.


The clinical manifestations of primary or idiopathic hemochromatosis include mainly hepatomegaly, diabetes mellitus, and hypogonadism. Most investigators postulated that the hypogonadism is caused by pituitary dysfunction and that the deposition of iron in the testes is of little importance. We found not only pituitary failure in a 45-year-old man with idiopathic hemochromatosis (low LH and FSH levels, no response to GnRH) but could also detect by light microscopy deposition of iron in capillary endothelial cells and in the perivascular space of the testicular tissue. Electron microscopic study of tissue from the testes showed intracytoplasmic hemosiderin deposits in capillary endothelial cells. Abundant lipofuscin granules were present in Sertoli cells and Leydig cells. The serum testosterone levels were also lowered. In our opinion, the androgenic deficiency in idiopathic hemochromatosis is not only caused by pituitary failure but also by testicular dysfunction due to deposits of hemosiderin and lipofuscin in the testes.

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