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Asian J Androl. 2019 Jul 5. doi: 10.4103/aja.aja_48_19. [Epub ahead of print]

Postnatal germ cell development in cryptorchid boys.

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Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark.
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen 2200, Denmark.
Department of Pathology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark.
Department of Pediatric Surgery, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark.
Department of Pediatrics, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Copenhagen 2650, Denmark.


Cryptorchidism is associated with infertility in adulthood. Early orchiopexy is suggested to reduce the risk. Information is lacking on the potential link between infant germ cell maturation and the risk of future infertility. The objective of the study was to evaluate age-related germ cell development in cryptorchidism. Immunostaining for markers of germ cell development (octamer-binding transcription factor 3/4 [OCT3/4], placental alkaline phosphatase [PLAP], KIT proto-oncogene [C-KIT], podoplanin [D2-40], Lin-28 homolog A [LIN28], and G antigen 7 [GAGE-7]) was performed in testicular biopsies from 40 cryptorchid boys aged 4-35 months. Germ cell numbers and distributions were evaluated in cross sections of seminiferous tubules, with and without immunostaining. OCT3/4, D2-40, and LIN28 were generally expressed in the early stages of germ cell development, as shown by positive expression in germ cells in the central region of seminiferous tubules. In contrast, PLAP and GAGE-7 were expressed in both central and peripheral parts of the tubules in the early stages of development and expressed mainly in a peripheral position with advancing age. Germ cell maturation was delayed in this study population as compared with that observed in our previous study on germ cell markers in a healthy population. The number of GAGE-7-positive germ cells per tubular cross section obtained by immunostaining was significantly higher than that obtained by standard hematoxylin and eosin staining. Double immunostaining revealed heterogeneity in germ cell development in cryptorchid testes. These results shed light on the pathophysiology of germ cell development in boys with cryptorchidism.


cryptorchidism; germ cells; immunostaining; male fertility preservation; reproductive index; testis

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