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Leavy, Myles; Trottmann, Matthias; Liedl, Bernhard; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Stief, Christian; Freitag, Benjamin; Baugh, John; Spagnoli, Giulio; Kölle, Sabine (2017): Effects of Elevated beta-Estradiol Levels on the Functional Morphology of the Testis - New Insights. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7
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Abstract

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.