Varicocele: Temporal considerations

H. M. Nagler, X. Z. Li, E. F. Lizza, A. Deitch, Ralph W deVere White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The pathophysiology of the abnormal spermatogenesis seen in the presence of the varicocele has not been elucidated in spite of extensive study. Furthermore, no satisfactory explanation exists for the bilateral abnormal spermatogenesis seen in a process which is felt to be unilateral in the majority of cases. The present study was designed to determine if a surgically produced unilateral varicocele would lead to ipsilateral testicular changes prior to the onset of contralateral testicular alterations. Utilizing the rat model and microsurgical techniques, the effects of the varicocele on ipsilateral and contralateral spermatogenesis was studied at intervals over 49 days. Mean seminiferous tubular diameter measurements and flow cytometric analysis of testicular tissue were utilized to assess spermatogenesis. A statistically significant decrease in mean seminiferous tubular diameter was seen between day 1 and day 49 in the left testicle. The right testicle tended to demonstrate similar changes but these were not significant by the method of analysis used. Flow cytometric analysis of testis DNA content also revealed a statistically significant difference in the percentage of haploid, diploid and tetraploid cells in the left testis on day 1 as compared to day 49. The right testis again tended to demonstrate similar but not significant changes. Though primarily a unilateral process, bilateral spermatic vein abnormalities were also visualized in some animals. This observation may contribute to the bilateral effect observed. These studies demonstrate that a surgically created left varicocele will result in bilateral testicular alterations. Within the time frame of the study, the ipsilateral alterations progressed to a greater degree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-413
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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