Sertoli cell-only syndrome: etiology and clinical management

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2021 Mar;38(3):559-572. doi: 10.1007/s10815-021-02063-x. Epub 2021 Jan 11.


Almost 50% of infertility cases are due to male factors, and spermatogenesis failure is one of the most severe forms of male infertility. Sertoli cell-only syndrome (SCOS) also known as germ cell aplasia is characterized by azoospermia in which the seminiferous tubules of testicular biopsy are lined only with Sertoli cells. The definitive diagnosis of SCOS is by diagnostic testicular biopsy. Although SCOS may be a result of Klinefelter syndrome, most of the SCOS men have a normal karyotype. Along with genetic aberrations, signaling pathways and endocrine processes might be major factors in the development of SCOS. Sperm retrieval and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are available treatments for SCOS. However, some SCOS patients do not have therapeutic options to help them having a biological child. This review aims to summarize our present knowledge about SCOS and to highlight the importance of future researches in the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.

Keywords: Azoospermia; Germ cell aplasia; Male infertility; SCOS; Sertoli cell only syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome / etiology*
  • Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome / pathology
  • Sertoli Cell-Only Syndrome / prevention & control*