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Sertoli cell-only syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Del Castillo syndrome
  • Germinal cell aplasia
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Sertoli cell-only syndrome (SCO syndrome) is a condition of the testes that causes infertility in males due to having only Sertoli cells (cells that nurture immature sperm) lining the seminiferous tubules (tubes inside the testicles where sperm develop). Men typically learn they are affected between ages 20-40 when being evaluated for infertility and are found to have no sperm production (azoospermia). The diagnosis is made based on testicular biopsy findings. Other signs and symptoms are rare, but are secondary to the underlying condition causing SCO syndrome. Most cases are idiopathic (of unknown cause), but causes may include deletions in the azoospermia factor (AZF) region of the Y chromosome, or Y-chromosome microdeletions (referred to as Y chromosome infertility); Klinefelter syndrome; exposure to chemicals and toxins; history of radiation therapy; and history of severe trauma. There is not currently a known effective treatment for the condition.[1] When no germ cells are visible in any seminiferous tubules it is considered SCO type I; if germ cells are present in a minority of tubules is it considered SCO type II.[2]
Last updated: 2/18/2011


  1. Edward David Kim, Joe D Mobley. Sertoli cell-only syndrome. eMedicine. August 14, 2009; Accessed 2/17/2011.
  2. Marla J. F. O'Neill. SERTOLI CELL-ONLY SYNDROME, Y-LINKED. OMIM. March 3, 2009; Accessed 2/18/2011.
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  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
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