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Keywords:

  • cryptorchidism;
  • epididymis;
  • inguinal;
  • monkey;
  • orchiopexy;
  • spermatogenesis;
  • stereology;
  • testis

Summary

Our previous study demonstrated that experimental intra-abdominal cryptorchidism in adult rabbits for 13 weeks resulted in severe spermatogenic arrest: type A spermatogonia was the only germ cell type seen in the seminiferous epithelium and its number per testis was reduced by 84%. Seven weeks following orchiopexy, the type A spermatogonial number returned to the near-normal range in most animals and spermatogenesis partially recovered (Reproduction 2002, 124, 95–105). This study aimed to determine whether inguinal cryptorchidism would produce less-severe damage to spermatogenesis and whether subsequent orchiopexy would better restore spermatogenesis. Five normal adult male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) underwent bilateral artificial inguinal cryptorchidism. Half a year later, one testis together with the ipsilateral epididymis were removed from each animal and then unilateral orchiopexy was performed on the contralateral side, with the remaining testis and epididymis being removed another half a year later. A contemporary unbiased and efficient stereological tool, the optical disector, was used to estimate numbers of all types of spermatogenic cells in the testis and spermatozoa in the epididymis. Spermatogenic arrest was induced by cryptorchidism at the stage of spermatogonia (n = 1), spermatocytes (n = 2) or early spermatids (n = 1), with the type A spermatogonial numbers per testis being reduced to 14.8–57.2% of the control average; in one of the five cryptorchid animals, however, spermatogenesis remained normal. Subsequent orchiopexy, which was successfully performed on two animals with cryptorchidism-induced spermatogenic arrest, brought on a full or partial recovery of spermatogenesis. In conclusion, inguinal cryptorchidism induces less severe (in comparison with an intra-abdominal one) and variable damage to spermatogenesis, which is restored, at least in part, by subsequent orchiopexy.