PURPOSE: In recent publications of boys with cryptorchidism, gonadotropins are higher and serum inhibin-B lower than normal. To some extent, serum values of inhibin-B reflect the state of germinative epithelium in cryptorchid testes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of unilateral orchiopexy on levels of gonadotropins and inhibin-B and correlate the hormone findings to the histopathology of the unilateral undescended testis. METHODS: 50 boys (mean age: 1 year and 2 months) operated for unilateral cryptorchidism had blood samples for serum luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and inhibin-B taken preoperatively and 3 months to 2 years postoperatively. Testicular biopsies were performed at orchiopexy. The total germ cell number per transverse tubule and presence of adult dark spermatogonia were estimated. RESULTS: Preoperatively, 8 patients had impaired inhibin-B levels. In contrast with the expected normal physiological decline, 16 patients had an absolute rise in serum inhibin-B level postoperatively. The 4 patients who normalized the preoperative impaired serum level of inhibin-B all had low germ cell number in the testis at time of operation. Nine patients had preoperatively elevated serum levels of both LH 0.5-2.3 IU/l (mean: 1.0 IU/l) and FSH 1.3-2.2 IU/l (mean: 1.6 IU/l). Eight of these patients normalized both LH and FSH serum values postoperatively. None of the 4 boys with impaired inhibin-B level that did not normalize after surgery had elevated gonadotropins. CONCLUSION: Orchiopexy in unilateral cryptorchidism had a clear impact on the serum level of inhibin-B and gonadotropins of 32% and 16%, respectively.
Journal of Pediatric Urology, 2015, Vol 11, Issue 1