To assess the types, distributions, and numbers of immune cell infiltrates in the testes of men with azoospermia.


Prospective study.


University research and clinical institutes.


Thirty-one men with azoospermia showing normal spermatogenesis (n = 10), germ cell maturation arrest (GA, n = 12), and Sertoli cell-only syndrome (SCO, n = 9).


Testicular tissue biopsies. Sections were stained with routine (hematoxyline and eosin), special (Masson Trichrome, Gordon, Periodic Acid Schiff, Aldehyde Fuchsin, and Orcein stains), and immunoperoxidase stains (using monoclonal antibodies for B and T cells and CD68 macrophages).


Serum levels of T, FSH, and LH in addition to histopathological analysis.


Hormonal profiles were unremarkable in all patients. Marked deposition of the reticular and collagen fibers was seen more in abnormal than normal spermatogenesis. The immune (B and T lymphocytes and CD68 macrophages) and mast cells were found in the interstitium, tubular walls, and lumens of all the testes analyzed. The differential counts of these cells (B and T lymphocytes, CD68 macrophages, and mast cells, respectively) were higher in SCO (1.66 +/- 0.46, 9.14 +/- 1.30, 2.26 +/- 1.68, 3.35 +/- 0.23) and GA (2.03 +/- 0.48, 4.70 +/- 1.00, 2.61 +/- 0.70, and 4.18 +/- 0.13) when compared with those in normal spermatogenesis (1.22 +/- 0.19, 5.41 +/- 0.58, 1.55 +/- 0.33, and 2.26 +/- 0.13). Increased cellular counts were not statistically significant for T and B cells and macrophages. However, these differences were statistically significant for mast cells.


Abnormal spermatogenesis is associated with increased numbers of the immune and mast cells. Our findings may reflect an exaggerated immune response in these cases.