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Germ cell development in the postnatal testis: the key to prevent malignancy in cryptorchidism?

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To permit normal postnatal germ cell development, the mammalian testis undergoes a complex, multi-staged process of descent to the scrotum. Failure of any part of this process leads to congenital cryptorchidism, wherein the malpositioned testis finds itself at the wrong temperature after birth, which leads to secondary germ cell loss and later infertility and risk of cancer. Recent studies suggest that neonatal gonocytes transform into the putative spermatogenic stem cells between 3 and 9 months, and this initial postnatal step is deranged in cryptorchid testes. In addition, it is thought the abnormality high temperature may also impair apoptosis of remaining gonocytes, allowing some to persist to become the possible source of carcinoma in situ and malignancy after puberty. The biology of postnatal germ cell development is of intense interest, as it is likely to be the key to the optimal timing for orchidopexy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Volume3
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)176
ISSN1664-2392
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ID: 41156654