Complete spermatogenesis in orthotopic but not in ectopic transplants of autologously grafted marmoset testicular tissue

Endocrinology. 2008 Apr;149(4):1736-47. doi: 10.1210/en.2007-1325. Epub 2008 Jan 3.


Testicular grafting has the potential to become a method to preserve fertility in prepubertal boys undergoing cancer treatment. The possibility of successful germ cell maturation after autologous grafting should be proven preclinically in a nonhuman primate model. Therefore, in two experiments, we analyzed the potential of autologous testicular grafting in the marmoset model. A first experiment in immature and adult hemi-castrated monkeys addressed the question of whether full spermatogenesis in an ectopic graft could be achieved under a relatively normal endocrine milieu and whether the donor's age is of influence. A second experiment in castrated immature animals examined whether the transplantation site [ectopic (back skin) or orthotopic (scrotum)] influences spermatogenic progress and whether cryopreserved tissue can be successfully transplanted. Grafts were analyzed by histology, immunohistochemistry, and morphometry. Bioactive chorionic gonadotropin and serum testosterone were measured. In the adults, ectopic grafts degenerated, whereas in the immature animals, grafts survived at the spermatogonial level. In the castrates, none of the cryopreserved grafts survived, ectopic grafts were meiotically arrested, but orthotopic transplants completed spermatogenesis. Androgen and bioactive chorionic gonadotropin levels were not decisive for graft development. When ectopic and orthotopic transplantation sites were compared, the scrotum has a substantially lower temperature. Thus, the higher temperature at the ectopic transplantation site may contribute to spermatogenic arrest. Autologous grafting of nonhuman primate testicular tissues can result in complete spermatogenesis. Our findings indicate that transplantation site and developmental age of the tissue play a role more important than the endocrine milieu.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Callithrix
  • Cryopreservation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Spermatogenesis*
  • Testis / pathology
  • Testis / transplantation*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Thermography
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Testosterone