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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 828697, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/828697
Research Article

Macrophages and Leydig Cells in Testicular Biopsies of Azoospermic Men

1Clinic for Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Petrova 13, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2Loma Linda University, 11060 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
3Department of Histology and Embryology, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
4Department of Physics and Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
5Clinic for Urology, Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Kišpatićeva 12, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
6Department for Transfusion Medicine and Transplantation Biology, Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Kišpatićeva 12, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Received 9 January 2014; Revised 16 March 2014; Accepted 17 March 2014; Published 4 May 2014

Academic Editor: Raymond J. Rodgers

Copyright © 2014 Trpimir Goluža et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A number of studies have indicated that testicular macrophages play an important role in regulating steroidogenesis of Leydig cells and maintain homeostasis within the testis. The current paper deals with macrophages (CD68 positive cells) and Leydig cells in patients with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA). Methods employed included histological analysis on semi- and ultrathin sections, immunohistochemistry, morphometry, and hormone analysis in the blood serum. Histological analysis pointed out certain structural changes of macrophages and Leydig cells in NOA group of patients when compared to controls. In the testis interstitium, an increased presence of CD68 positive cells has been noted. Leydig cells in NOA patients displayed a kind of a mosaic picture across the same bioptic sample: both normal and damaged Leydig cells with pronounced vacuolisation and various intensity of expression of testosterone have been observed. Stereological analysis indicated a significant increase in volume density of both CD68 positive and vacuolated Leydig cells and a positive correlation between the volume densities of these cell types. The continuous gonadotropin overstimulation of Leydig cells, together with a negative paracrine action of macrophages, could result in the damage of steroidogenesis and deficit of testosterone in situ.