Sertoli cell-only syndrome

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Sertoli cell-only syndrome
Classification and external resources
Specialty endocrinology, Andrology
OMIM 305700 400042
DiseasesDB 31907
eMedicine med/2104
MeSH D054331

Sertoli cell-only syndrome (a.k.a. Del Castillo syndrome and germ cell aplasia[1] ) is a disorder characterized by male sterility without sexual abnormality. It describes a condition of the testes in which only Sertoli cells line the seminiferous tubules.[2]


The Sertoli cell-only syndrome patients normally have normal secondary male features and have normal- or small-sized testes.


Testicular biopsy would confirm the absence of spermatozoa . Seminal plasma protein TEX101 was proposed for differentiation of Sertoli cell-only syndrome from maturation arrest and hypospermatogenesis.[3]


Sertoli cell only syndrome is likely multifactorial, and characterized by severely reduced or absent spermatogenesis despite the presence of both Sertoli and Leydig cells. A substantial subset of men with this uncommon syndrome have microdeletions in the Yq11 region of the Y chromosome, an area known as the AZF (azoospermia factor) region. Generally speaking, testosterone and LH levels are normal, but due to lack of inhibin, FSH levels are increased.


Sertoli cell only syndrome is like other non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) cases are managed by sperm retrieval through testicular sperm extraction (mTESE), micro-surgical testicular sperm extraction (mTESE), or testicular biopsy.[4] On retrieval of viable sperm this could be used in Intracytoplasmic Sperm injection ICSI

In 1979, Levin described germinal cell aplasia with focal spermatogenesis where a variable percentage of seminiferous tubules contain germ cells.[5] It is important to discriminate between both in view of ICSI.


  1. ^ Sertoli cell-only syndrome at eMedicine
  2. ^ "Sertoli-Cell-Only Syndrome". 1 June 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016. .
  3. ^ Drabovich, A. P.; Dimitromanolakis, A.; Saraon, P.; Soosaipillai, A.; Batruch, I.; Mullen, B.; Jarvi, K.; Diamandis, E.P. (2013). "Differential Diagnosis of Azoospermia with Proteomic Biomarkers ECM1 and TEX101 Quantified in Seminal Plasma". Science Translational Medicine. 5 (212): 212ra160. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006260. PMID 24259048. 
  4. ^ Talas H, Yaman O, Aydos K (Sep 2007). "Outcome of repeated micro-surgical testicular sperm extraction in patients with non-obstructive azoospermia". Asian J. Androl. 9 (5): 668–73. doi:10.1111/J.1745-7262.2007.00273.X. PMID 17712484. 
  5. ^ Levin HS (September 1979). "Testicular biopsy in the study of male infertility: its current usefulness, histologic techniques, and prospects for the future". Hum. Pathol. 10 (5): 569–84. doi:10.1016/S0046-8177(79)80100-8. PMID 43278.