Spermatogonial proliferation patterns in men with azoospermia of different etiologies

Batia Bar-Shira Maymon*, Leah Yogev, Haim Yavetz, Beatriz Lifschitz-Mercer, Letizia Schreiber, Sandra E. Kleiman, Amnon Botchan, Ron Hauser, Gedalia Paz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: To demonstrate the pattern(s) of spermatogonial proliferation in different spermatogenic disorders. Design: Retrospective case-control study. Setting: Teaching hospital. Patient(s): Azoospermic men who underwent testicular biopsy for sperm recovery and preparation for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Intervention(s): Testicular biopsy evaluation by quantitative immunohistochemistry for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Main Outcome Measure(s): The expression of PCNA in spermatogonia as an index of proliferating activity in testes with focal spermatogenesis, spermatocyte maturation arrest, or normal spermatogenesis. Result(s): In biopsies with focal spermatogenesis (11 men), there was a statistically significant reduction of PCNA-labeled spermatogonia in seminiferous tubules showing spermatocyte arrest compared with the expression in adjacent tubules with advanced spermatogenic stage or in normal spermatogenesis (obstructive azoospermia, six men). However, PCNA expression in tubules of the group with complete maturation arrest (six men) was significantly higher compared with the same spermatogenic defect - spermatocyte arrest - within focal spermatogenesis biopsies. Conclusion(s): Different causes underlie the spermatogenic disorders reported in this study. In focal spermatogenesis, the disorder is associated with the presence of mitotic inactive spermatogonia. The detection of normal active spermatogonia in the spermatocyte arrest group indicates that the spermatogenic defect, which is accompanied by meiosis impairment, is not related to a malfunction of spermatogonial proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1180
Number of pages6
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Meiosis impairment
  • Nonobstructive azoospermia
  • Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)
  • Spermatogonia


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