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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Oligozoospermia induced by exogenous testosterone is associated with normal functioning residual spermatozoa.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the functional capacity of residual spermatozoa in semen samples from normal men with T enanthate-induced oligozoospermia. DESIGN: Prospective clinical study. SETTING: Academic research center. PATIENT(S): Twelve healthy men were studied while participating in a multicenter T enanthate contraceptive efficacy study. Data were analyzed from only eight subjects, whose sperm concentrations were between 1.3 and 10 x 10(6)/mL at the suppression phase. INTERVENTION(S): Testosterone enanthate (200 mg) was administered IM weekly during the suppression and treatment (efficacy) phases (total 15 months). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Sperm function tests (stimulated acrosome reaction, sperm hyperactivation [HA], and zona-free hamster oocyte penetration tests) were performed during the pretreatment, suppression (usually after 6 to 10 weeks of treatment, when sperm concentration was anticipated to decrease to < 10 x 10(6)/mL), and recovery phases. Studies were not done during the contraceptive efficacy phase because only one of the subjects was not azoospermic. RESULT(S): Mean sperm concentration was reduced but sperm motility, motility characteristics, and morphology were not affected by T enanthate treatment. The residual spermatozoa in the ejaculate could acrosome react, exhibited normal HA, and maintained the capacity to penetrate and fuse with the oocyte. CONCLUSION(S): Suppression of spermatogenesis to moderate oligozoospermia (< 10 x 10(6)/mL) with exogenous T enanthate administration was not associated with impaired sperm function of the residual spermatozoa. The study did not exclude the possibility that disorders of sperm function might occur when spermatogenesis is suppressed further to very severe oligozoospermia (< 1 x 10(6)/mL), commonly observed in hormonal male contraceptive clinical trials.[1]


  1. Oligozoospermia induced by exogenous testosterone is associated with normal functioning residual spermatozoa. Wang, C., Leung, A., Superlano, L., Steiner, B., Swerdloff, R.S. Fertil. Steril. (1997) [Pubmed]
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