Impairment of spermatogonial development and spermiation after testosterone-induced gonadotropin suppression in adult monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)

Liza O'Donnell, Anita Narula, Georgia Balourdos, Yi Qun Gu, Nigel G. Wreford, David M. Robertson, William J. Bremner, Robert I. Mclachlan

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Human male hormonal contraceptive regimens do not consistently induce azoospermia, and the basis of this variable response is unclear. This study used nine adult macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) given testosterone (T) implants for 20 weeks to study changes in germ cell populations in relation to sperm output. Germ cell numbers were determined using the optical disector stereological method. Four animals achieved consistent azoospermia (azoo group), whereas five animals did not (nonazoo group). T-induced gonadotropin suppression in all animals decreased A pale (Ap) spermatogonia to 45% of baseline within 2 weeks, leading to decreased B spermatogonia (32-38%) and later germ cells (20-30%) after 14 and 20 weeks. Though the reduction in later germ cell types could be primarily attributed to the loss of spermatogonia, the data suggested that some cells were lost during the spermatocyte and spermatid phase of development. B spermatogonial number was more markedly suppressed in azoospermic animals, compared with the nonazoo group, as was the conversion ratio between Ap and B spermatogonia. Abnormal retention of elongated spermatids (failed spermiation) was also prominent in some animals after long-term T administration. We conclude that: 1) the variable suppression of sperm output is attributed to the degree of inhibition of germ cell development from type B spermatogonia onwards, and this is related to the degree of FSH suppression; and 2) inhibition of Ap and B spermatogonial development and of spermiation are the major defects caused by long-term T administration to monkeys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1814-1822
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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