Does early cell death cause germ cell loss after intratesticular tissue grafting?

Spermatogonia-specific apoptosis does not explain the stem cell loss observed after intratesticular tissue grafting. Probably, hypoxia during the first days after transplantation induces degeneration of tubules in the center of the graft.

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Dorien Van Saen, Ph.D., Ellen Goossens, Ph.D., Joeri L. Aerts, Ph.D., Patrick. Haentjens, M.D., Ph.D., Herman Tournaye, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 5, Pages 1264-1272.e1, April 2013



To assess cell death in intratesticular grafts.


Experimental animal study.




F1-hybrids from SV129 X C57BL.


Intratesticular tissue transplantation was performed and cell death in the grafts was evaluated at different time points after transplantation.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Apoptotic cell death in spermatogonia was evaluated by flow cytometry using the annexin V assay. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate graft development and the global occurrence of cell death.


The highest level of spermatogonia-specific cell death was found on days 4 and 10, although no statistical difference was observed compared to control tissue. Statistically significant reductions in tubule integrity were observed 1 day and 2 months after transplantation. More degenerated tubules were observed in the centre of the grafts 1 and 4 days after transplantation and higher numbers of apoptotic tubules were found 1 day after transplantation. No difference in overall cell death was observed between grafts and controls, for any time point except for the frozen grafts 1 day after transplantation.


Spermatogonia-specific apoptosis does not explain the stem cell loss observed after intratesticular tissue grafting, but it probably results from degeneration of tubules in the center of the graft due to hypoxia during the first days after transplantation.

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