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Concept: Male reproductive system


Elevated estradiol levels are correlated with male infertility. Causes of hyperestrogenism include diseases of the adrenal cortex, testis or medications affecting the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis. The aim of our study was to elucidate the effects of estradiol treatment on testicular cellular morphology and function, with reference to the treatment regimen received. Testes samples (n = 9) were obtained post-orchiectomy from male-to-female transsexuals within the age range of 26-52 years. Each patient had a minimum of 1-6 years estradiol treatment. For comparison, additional samples were obtained from microscopically unaltered testicular tissue surrounding tumors (n = 7). The tissues obtained were investigated by stereomicroscopy, histochemistry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and immunohistochemistry. Our studies revealed that estradiol treatment significantly decreased the diameter of the seminiferous tubules (p < 0.05) and induced fatty degeneration in the surrounding connective tissue. An increase in collagen fiber synthesis in the extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding the seminiferous tubules was also induced. Spermatogenesis was impaired resulting in mainly spermatogonia being present. Sertoli cells revealed diminished expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα). Both Sertoli and Leydig cells showed morphological alterations and glycoprotein accumulations. These results demonstrate that increased estradiol levels drastically impact the human testis.

Concepts: Leydig cell, Scanning electron microscope, Male reproductive system, Testicle, Puberty, Estradiol, Testosterone, Sertoli cell


Zika virus (ZIKV) infection of pregnant women can cause congenital malformations including microcephaly, which has focused global attention on this emerging pathogen(1). In addition to transmission by mosquitoes, ZIKV can be detected in the seminal fluid of affected males for extended periods of time and transmitted sexually(2). Here, using a mouse-adapted African ZIKV strain (Dakar 41519), we evaluated the consequences of infection in the male reproductive tract of mice. We observed persistence of ZIKV, but not the closely related Dengue virus (DENV), in the testis and epididymis of male mice, and this was associated with tissue injury that caused diminished testosterone and inhibin B levels, and oligospermia. ZIKV preferentially infected spermatogonia, primary spermatocytes, and Sertoli cells in the testis, resulting in cell death and destruction of the seminiferous tubules. Less damage was observed with a contemporary Asian ZIKV strain (H/PF/2013), in part because this virus replicates less efficiently in mice. The extent to which these observations in mice translate to humans remains unclear, but longitudinal studies of sperm function and viability in ZIKV-infected humans seem warranted.

Concepts: Epididymis, Sperm, Spermatogenesis, Reproductive system, Male reproductive system, Reproduction, Spermatozoon, Sertoli cell


Human semen contains spermatozoa secreted by the testes and a mixture of components produced by the bulbo-urethral and Littre (paraurethral) glands, prostate, seminal vesicles, ampulla and epididymis. Ejaculation is used as a synonym for the external ejection of semen, but it comprises two phases: emission and expulsion. As semen collects in the prostatic urethra, the rapid preorgasmic distension of the urethral bulb is pathognomonic of impeding orgasm, and the man experiences a sensation that ejaculation is inevitable (in women, emission is the only phase of orgasm). The semen is propelled along the penile urethra mainly by the bulbocavernosus muscle. With Kegel exercises, it is possible to train the perineal muscles. Immediately after the expulsion phase the male enters a refractory period, a recovery time during which further orgasm or ejaculation is physiologically impossible. Age affects the recovery time: as a man grows older, the refractory period increases. Sexual medicine experts consider premature ejaculation only in the case of vaginal intercourse, but vaginal orgasm has no scientific basis, so the duration of intercourse is not important for a woman’s orgasm. The key to female orgasm are the female erectile organs; vaginal orgasm, G-spot, G-spot amplification, clitoral bulbs, clitoris-urethra-vaginal complex, internal clitoris and female ejaculation are terms without scientific basis. Female sexual dysfunctions are popular because they are based on something that does not exist, i.e. the vaginal orgasm. The physiology of ejaculation and orgasm is not impaired in premature ejaculation: it is not a disease, and non-coital sexual acts after male ejaculation can be used to produce orgasm in women. Teenagers and men can understand their sexual responses by masturbation and learn ejaculatory control with the stop-start method and the squeeze technique. Premature ejaculation must not be classified as a male sexual dysfunction. It has become the center of a multimillion dollar business: is premature ejaculation - and female sexual dysfunction - an illness constructed by sexual medicine experts under the influence of drug companies? This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Male reproductive system, Prostate, Masturbation, Sexual intercourse, Semen, Penis, Ejaculation, Orgasm


The majority of investigations on the testis, as the main organ of male reproductive system, have been performed in mammalian species, with few studies on bird species. Thus, the structure of the ostrich testis remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the microanatomical characteristics of the testis in five juvenile ostriches. A stereological study was performed according to the Delesse principle. The mean volume fraction of the seminiferous tubules was 0.569, and the mean volume of the seminiferous tubules in an average testis was 1.04 cm(3). The Paraffin-embedded sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, Masson’s trichrome, Alcian blue, and periodic acid-Schiff stains. Histological studies revealed that the spermatogonial stem cells and Sertoli cells were localized inside the seminiferous tubules, close to the basement membrane. Inside the tubules a few meiotic cells up to the spermatozoa stage were located in a centripetal manner. Outside the tubules, one to three layers of euchromatic peritubular myoid cells were present, surrounded by loose interstitial connective tissue. A thick tunica albuginea contained many myoid cells and some rete ducts, with the latter extending from the hilus to the free surface of the testis. Straight seminiferous tubules were distributed in the lateral surfaces and hilar portions of the capsule but were rare in the free surface. These capsular rete ducts may participate in testicular fluid transit from the distal tubules through the capsule.

Concepts: Testicle, Bird, Spermatozoon, Ostrich, Seminiferous tubule, Histology, Male reproductive system, Sertoli cell


To develop a transurethral endoscopy technique of the transurethral seminal vesiculoscopy to examine and treat seminal vesicle disease. A total of 61 patients with seminal vesicle disease were diagnosed and treated with the transurethral seminal vesiculoscopy through the distal seminal tracts and vesicles. 58 cases were successfully treated using transurethral seminal vesiculoscopy via the seminal vesicles. The operation took 25 ~ 85 min, with an average of (35.6) mins. In this group, seven cases were diagnosed as ejaculatory orifice cyst, 14 cases had blood clots in the seminal vesicles, and nine patients had stones in the seminal vesicles. All patients were treated properly. Follow-up occurred at 3 months, with two cases showing post-operative discomfort in perineal region. One patient had recurrence with seminal vesiculitis, which improved with treatment. Four infertile patients had a significant increase in sperm count and ejaculation volume and two of these patients were able to naturally inseminate within seven to 18 months post-surgery. This approach enables a new endoscopic technique with the transurethral seminal vesiculoscopy to diagnose and treat seminal vesicle disease through the normal anatomic pathway which can be easily performed with few post-operative complications.

Concepts: Male reproductive system, Spermatozoon, Medical terms, Diagnosis, Prostate, Ejaculation, Seminal vesicle, Semen


Testicular pain syndrome (TPS), defined as an intermittent or constant pain in one or both testicles for at least 3 months, resulting in significant reduction of daily activities, is common. Microsurgical denervation of the spermatic cord (MDSC) has been suggested as an effective treatment option. The study population comprised 180 TPS patients, admitted to our outpatient urology clinic between 1999 and 2011. On three different occasions, patients were offered a double-blind, placebo-controlled temporary blockade of the spermatic cord. A single blockade consisted of 10 mL 2% lidocaine, 10 mL 0.25% bupivacaine or 10 mL 0.9% sodium chloride. If the results of these blockades were positive, MDSC was offered. All MDSCs were performed by a single urologist (MTWTL) using an inguinal approach. Pain reduction was determined at prospective follow-up. 180 patients were evaluated. Most patients (61.1%) had undergone a scrotal or inguinal procedure. Patients had complaints during sexual activities (51.7%), sitting (37.5%) and/or cycling (36.7%). 189 randomized blockades were offered to all patients. There was a positive response in 37% and a negative response in 51%. MDSC was performed on 58 testicular units including 3 patients with a negative outcome of the blockades. At mean follow-up of 42.8 months, 86.2% had a ⩾50% reduction of pain and 51.7% were completely pain free. MDSC is a valuable treatment option for TPS patients as in this study 86.2% experienced a ⩾50% reduction of pain. To prevent superfluous diagnostics and treatment, it is mandatory to follow a systematic protocol in the treatment of TPS.

Concepts: Blockade, Male reproductive system, Testicular torsion, Scrotum, Sodium chloride, Sodium, Spermatic cord, Testicle


Cysts arising in the penis are uncommon and can be found anywhere from the urethral meatus to the root of the penis involving glans, foreskin, or shaft. Median raphe cysts account for the majority of penile cystic lesions reported in the literature. As their name suggests, they arise on the ventral midline of the penis that extends from the urethral meatus to the scrotum and perineum. Proposed hypotheses for their origin as well as their diverse morphology are discussed.

Concepts: Urinary meatus, Foreskin restoration, Male reproductive system, Urethra, Erogenous zone, Perineal raphe, Glans penis, Penis


Abstract Context: Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Malvaceae) is a species widely used in folk medicine for the treatment of some disorders. Objective: This study evaluated the effects of H. sabdariffa (HS) on the development of the male reproductive tract in rats following in utero exposure. Materials and methods: Pregnant rats received 250 or 500 mg/kg of HS extract or vehicle from gestational day 12 until day 21 of lactation. Results and discussion: Both doses of HS increased the body weight of male offspring at weaning, without compromising the puberty onset parameters. At puberty, there was a significant increase in the vas deferens absolute weight and a significant reduction in the relative weight of kidney at higher dose. These animals also presented a significant reduction in the sperm number in the caput/corpus of epididymis after exposure to both doses and a reduction in the sperm number in the cauda epididymis for the lower dose. At adulthood, the highest dose significantly reduced the sperm production in relation to controls and both doses provoked a reduction in the relative sperm number in the epididymis without affecting the sperm morphology. Conclusion: These findings demonstrated that maternal exposure to H. sabdariffa can adversely influence the male reproductive system in rats.

Concepts: Organism, Male reproductive system, Fertility, Gamete, Vas deferens, Reproductive system, Epididymis, Reproduction


We investigated the effects of dietary selenium (Se) supplementation on the development of chicken testis and the expression of selenoprotein W (SelW), glutathione peroxidase4 (GPx4), luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotropin receptor (LHCGR), and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). Sixty roosters were assigned randomly into the control group fed with a basic diet (containing 0.3 mg Se/kg) and the experimental group fed with a diet (containing 0.6 mg Se/kg). The testes were collected individually at age of 6, 9, and 12 weeks. Se was supplemented in chicken feed for 15 days before sampling. The results indicated that dietary Se affected the number of cells in the seminiferous tubules and viability of Sertoli cells in vitro culture. SelW and GPx4 expression in the testes increased significantly in the experimental group compared to that in the control group. LHCGR expression in the testes increased significantly in the experimental group after 12 weeks compared to that in the control group. In contrast, ACE expression was inhibited in the experimental group compared to that in the control group. These results suggest that dietary supplementation with Se improved development of the seminiferous tubules at the cellular level and that SelW, GPx4, LHCGR, and ACE are involved.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Seminiferous tubule, Testicle, Male reproductive system, Protein, Spermatozoon, Glutathione peroxidase, Sertoli cell


BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to use a three-dimensional (3D) visualization technology to illustrate and describe the anatomical features of the penile suspensory ligamentous system based on the Visible Human data sets and to explore the suspensory mechanism of the penis for the further improvement of the penis-lengthening surgery. MATERIAL AND METHODS Cross-sectional images retrieved from the first Chinese Visible Human (CVH-1), third Chinese Visible Human (CVH-3), and Visible Human Male (VHM) data sets were used to segment the suspensory ligamentous system and its adjacent structures. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images of this system were studied and compared with those from the Visible Human data sets. The 3D models reconstructed from the Visible Human data sets were used to provide morphological features of the penile suspensory ligamentous system and its related structures. RESULTS The fundiform ligament was a superficial, loose, fibro-fatty tissue which originated from Scarpa’s fascia superiorly and continued to the scrotal septum inferiorly. The suspensory ligament and arcuate pubic ligament were dense fibrous connective tissues which started from the pubic symphysis and terminated by attaching to the tunica albuginea of the corpora cavernosa. Furthermore, the arcuate pubic ligament attached to the inferior rami of the pubis laterally. CONCLUSIONS The 3D model based on Visible Human data sets can be used to clarify the anatomical features of the suspensory ligamentous system, thereby contributing to the improvement of penis-lengthening surgery.

Concepts: Penis, Pelvis, Computer graphics, Suspensory ligament of the penis, Male reproductive system, Magnetic resonance imaging, Corpus cavernosum penis, Pubic symphysis