Testis & epididymis


Germ cell aplasia

Topic Completed: 1 September 2012

Minor changes: 8 September 2020

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PubMed Search: Infertility "Germ cell aplasia"

Turki Al-Hussain, M.D.
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Cite this page: Al-Hussain T. Germ cell aplasia. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/testisgermcellaplasia.html. Accessed December 7th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Also known as Sertoli cell only syndrome
  • First derscribed by Del Castillo et al. (1947)
  • Causes: idiopathic, gonadotropin deficiency, cryptorchidism, orchitis, prostate cancer hormonal therapy, radiation, Klinefelter syndrome (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2010;134:1197)
Germ cell aplasia and focal spermatogenesis
  • Two populations of tubules; one population with small tubules exhibiting germ cell aplasia, other population has reduced spermatogenesis
  • Usually very low sperm count
  • Some prefer the term "hypospermatogenesis" for this setting (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2010;134:1197)
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Tubules are reduced in diameter and lined only by Sertoli cells
  • Sertoli cells are perpendicular to basement membrane; may resemble palm trees waving in a breeze
  • Cells have nuclear indentations and prominent nucleoli
  • Charcot-Bottcher crystals sometimes seen as thin eosinophilic lines in various directions
  • Four types of Sertoli cells have ben identified:
    1. Normal adult mature cells
    2. Immature cells
    3. Dysgenetic cells
    4. Involuting cells (Histopathology 1990;16:173)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Asmaa Gaber Abdou, M.D.

Sertoli cell only and Leydig cell hyperplasia

Differential diagnosis
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