Germ cell loss in Klinefelter syndrome - when and why?

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Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is a quite common disorder with an incidence of 1–2 in 1,000 new-born males. Most patients are diagnosed in the light of a clinical checkup when consulting a fertility clinic with an unfulfilled child wish. Infertility in KS patients is caused by a massive germ cell loss, leading to azoospermia in more than 90% of the adult patients. Most seminiferous tubules in the adult KS testis are degenerated or hyalinized and testicular fibrosis can be observed, starting from puberty. However, focal spermatogenesis can be found in the testis of some patients. This offers the opportunity to extract spermatozoa from the testis by testicular sperm extraction (TESE). Nevertheless, TESE is only successful in about half of the KS adults seeking to father children. The reason for the germ cell loss remains unclear. To date, it is still debated whether the testicular tissue changes and the germ cell loss seen in KS is directly caused by an altered X-linked gene expression, the altered somatic environment, or a deficiency in the germ cells. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge about the germ cell loss in KS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-370
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics. Part C, Seminars in Medical Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date15 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020


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