Scanning Microscopy


Fifty-two surgical biopsies from retractile testes of patients in pediatric age (3-14 years), of which 25 were treated with hormonal therapy (RT) and 27 did not undergo therapy before orchidopexy (RNT), were compared with the biopsies of 19 normal (N) and 30 cryptorchid or ectopic (E) testes. A light and electron microscopic morphologic and morphometric study was performed. For the quantitative investigation 4 parameters were selected: a) the mean tubular diameter (on 20 cross-sections); b) the mean spermatogonial number per tubular section; c) the mean nucleolar area of the Sertoli cells; and d) the mean thickness of the tubular basal lamina. The 101 biopsies were collected for statistical evaluation into four age groups: 3-6 years, 7-10, 11-13 without spermatogenesis and 10-14 with signs of early spermatogenesis.

In the RT category the mean tubular diameter and the mean spermatogonial number were similar to N in the first two age groups, but were significantly reduced in the RNT categories.

The morphometric study of the Sertoli cell nucleolar area confirms the delay of maturation observed in the categories of RT, RNT and E. In normal biopsies, the basal lamina shows a progressive reduction of the thickness, with the lowest values around puberty, while constantly higher values were found in the other categories, although this increase is not statistically significant.

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