PURPOSE: We verified the prevalence of serum antisperm antibodies at diagnosis in a large group of cryptorchid boys, and determined whether it may be influenced by orchiopexy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We prospectively evaluated serum antisperm antibodies in 186 and 23 boys 0.67 to 14.25 years old with unilateral and bilateral cryptorchidism, respectively, before, and 3, 12 and 24 months after surgery. At diagnosis Tanner stage was 1 and 2 or 3 in 188 and 21 cases, respectively. During the 2-year followup 23 boys entered puberty. A total of 111 normal prepubertal (Tanner stage 1) and 54 pubertal (Tanner stage 2 or 3) boys served as controls. Antisperm antibodies were detected using the tray agglutination and indirect immunobead tests. RESULTS: At diagnosis 29 cryptorchid boys (13.8%) were antisperm antibody positive, including 21 of the 188 prepubertal (11.1%) and 8 of the 21 pubertal (38%) boys (significantly different, chi-square test p <0.001). In 27 cases the tray agglutination test was positive with titers between 1:16 and 1:512, in 18 the indirect immunobead test was positive for IgG with titers between 1:10 and 1:100, and in 16 both tests were positive. There was no statistical difference when antisperm antibody results were analyzed for unilateral and bilateral cryptorchidism or testis location. All normal boys were antisperm antibody negative. During the 2-year followup antisperm antibodies appeared in 1 previously negative case, and the antibody titer increased to 128 to 512 in the tray agglutination and to 1:100 in the indirect immunobead tests in 4 positive cases. In all of these cases pubertal changes were also observed. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that cryptorchidism may elicit an autoimmune response against sperm antigen in childhood independent of testis location and orchiopexy. Moreover, patients of pubertal age appear to be at higher risk for antisperm antibody development
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