The Sertoli cell: Novel clinical potentiality
The Sertoli cell is important for endocrine and paracrine control of spermatogenesis. Functions attributed to Sertoli cells are: (1) supportive and trophic functions for the cells of the seminiferous epithelium, (2) transport of mature spermatids towards the lumen of seminiferous tubules, (3) secretion of androgen binding protein, (4) production of substances with endocrine or paracrine action for spermatogenesis control and (5) interaction with intertubular endocrine Leydig cells. Inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) are glycoproteins belonging to the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) superfamily; they are produced almost exclusively by the Sertoli cells and have been proposed as direct markers of their function and indirect markers of spermatogenesis. Serum inhibin B and AMH concentrations seem to constitute additional diagnostic parameters in male subfertility as they reflect Sertoli cell function. Stimulated concentrations of serum inhibin B and AMH do not add clinically relevant information in subfertile men compared to basal concentrations of these hormones. Serum inhibin B and AMH concentrations correlate with testicular histology/cytology but are not superior to FSH as predictors of the presence of sperm in testicular sperm extraction (TESE)/fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy in men with azoospermia.
Key wordsAnti-Müllerian hormone Inhibin Sertoli cell Spermatogenesis Testicular sperm extraction
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