Identification of seminiferous tubule aberrations and a low incidence of testicular microliths associated with the development of azoospermia

Gary D. Smith*, Ian Steele, Randall B. Barnes, Laurence A. Levine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the use of percutaneous testicular sperm aspiration in the assessment of azoospermia and its association with seminiferous tubule microliths.Design: Case report.Setting: Tertiary care fertility center in a university hospital.Patient(s): Male undergoing infertility evaluation.Intervention(s): Testicular biopsy and percutaneous testicular aspiration.Main Outcome Measure(s): Serum hormone analysis, sperm concentration in semen, spermatogenesis in samples from testicular biopsies and aspirations, and microlith composition.Result(s): A patient presented for infertility evaluation with a history of severe oligospermia that progressed to azoospermia. The serum testosterone concentration (357 ng/dL) and LH concentration (9.2 mIU/mL) were normal and the serum FSH concentration (18.3 mIU/mL) was elevated. Testicular biopsy results indicated spermatogenic hypoplasia with limited spermatozoa. Seminiferous tubules obtained by percutaneous testicular aspiration were structurally aberrant, with multiple diverticula. Microliths averaging 120 μm in diameter were observed within and blocking the seminiferous tubules. The microliths were composed of calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite) in both the core and peripheral regions. Electron microscopy revealed a high degree of collagen-like material within the peripheral zone.Conclusion(s): The presence of seminiferous tubule microliths is associated with the development of azoospermia. In patients with a low incidence of seminiferous tubule microliths and aberrant seminiferous tubule architecture, percutaneous testicular aspiration may provide a diagnostic advantage over testicular biopsy. Copyright (C) 1999 American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-471
Number of pages5
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999


  • Focal spermatogenesis
  • Percutaneous testicular sperm aspiration
  • Testicular biopsy
  • Testicular microliths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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