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During infancy low levels of follicle-stimulating hormone may result in high rate of germ cell apoptosis

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PURPOSE: It has been suggested that follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) plays a role in preventing germ cell apoptosis. We aimed to compare apoptotic rate of boys with cryptorchidism having different levels of FSH in order to investigate its role in apoptosis.

METHODS: Hormonal profiles and testicular biopsies from 30 boys with unilateral cryptorchidism (age range: 4-14 months) were included. Based on FSH level, the boys were grouped into three (3 × 10) having high (>97.5percentile), low (<2.5percentile), or within normal range. Sections underwent immunohistochemical staining to analyze the number of germ cells and type A dark spermatogonia per cross-sectional tubule. One section was co-stained with immunofluorescent antibodies against an apoptotic marker (cleaved caspase-3), proliferation marker (Ki67), Sertoli cell marker (anti-Müllerian hormone) and processed by confocal imaging for analysis. Germ cell apoptosis was calculated as the apoptosis index (percentage caspase-3+ germ cells/total germ cell number).

RESULTS: Fifty percent (5/10) of the boys with low FSH had an apoptosis index above 90% compared with 15% (3/20) of the boys with normal or high FSH (p = 0.04). Caspase-3+ germ cells were most likely to be located on the basement membrane (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: Our findings lead to trends proposing that FSH may play a role in preventing apoptosis.

TYPE OF STUDY: Prognosis Study LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
ISSN0022-3468
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Apoptosis, Cryptorchidism, Follicle-stimulating hormone, Germ cells, Gonocyte transformation

ID: 64228218