Inguinoscrotal Descent of the Testis

  • John M. Hutson
  • Jørgen M. Thorup
  • Spencer W. Beasley


The inguinoscrotal phase of testicular descent occurs between 25 and 35 weeks’ gestation, during which the gubernaculum protrudes from the inguinal abdominal wall and migrates to th srotum. Initial protrusion is similar to formation of an embryonic limb bud, and there is some evidence in animal models that this is controlled by the mammary line. During migration the processus vaginalis forms inside the gubernaculum, enabling the testis to reach the scrotum while still inside the peritoneum. The migration is controlled by androgens, which act mostly indirectly via the genitofemoral nerve (GFN). The androgen receptors are in the inguinoscrotal fat pad, along the mammary line, and the GFN is probably masculinised by a neurotrophin from the inguinal fat pad. The male GFN then produces calcitionin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is thought to control migration by a chemotactic gradient. It is hard to test experimentally whether this also occurs in the human, but the processus vaginalis contains CGRP nerves and the processus can respond to exogenous CGRP in vitro by obliteration. This is consistent with the GFN sensory fibres and CGRP controlling inguinoscrotal testicular descent in humans similar to that in rodent models.


Inguinal Canal Mammary Line Cremaster Muscle Programming Window Testicular Descent 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Hutson
    • 1
  • Jørgen M. Thorup
    • 2
  • Spencer W. Beasley
    • 3
  1. 1.Royal Children’s Hospital University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Univ. Hospital of Copenhagen RigshospitaletKøbenhavnDenmark
  3. 3.University of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand

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