The following information may help to address your question:
What is Sertoli cell-only syndrome?
Sertoli cell-only syndrome (SCO syndrome)
is a cause of male infertility
. In SCO syndrome, only Sertoli cells
(cells that nurture the immature sperm) line the seminiferous tubules
(tubes inside the testicles
where sperm develop). Therefore, there are not any sperm cells present in the seminiferous tubules. Men typically learn they are affected between ages 20-40 years when being evaluated for infertility and are found to have no sperm production (azoospermia). Other signs and symptoms are rare, but in some cases there could be an underlying cause of SCO syndrome that causes other symptoms, such as Klinefelter syndrome
Most cases of SCO syndrome are idiopathic (of unknown cause), but causes may include deletions
of genetic information on regions of the Y-chromosome
, especially on the azoospermia factor (AZF) region
. Other causes include exposure to chemicals or toxins
, history of radiation therapy
, and history of severe trauma. Diagnosis of SCO syndrome is confirmed with testicular biopsy
. Although there is currently no effective treatment, assisted reproductive technology
may assist some men with SCO syndrome in being able to have children.
Last updated: 8/30/2017
Are there any research studies or clinical trials on Sertoli cell-only syndrome?
You can find published research articles on Sertoli cell-only syndrome through PubMed, a searchable database of biomedical journal articles. Although not all of the articles are available for free online, most articles listed in PubMed have a summary available. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library or your local library for interlibrary loan. You can also order articles online through the publisher’s website.
In addition, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) website has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to these journals (print or online). The Web page also describes how you can get these articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link http://nnlm.gov/members/
. You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.
Using "Sertoli cell only syndrome" or "non-obstructive azoospermia" (SCO syndrome is a cause of non-obstructive azoospermia) as your search term on PubMed should help you locate articles. Use the "Limits" or "Advanced Search" features to narrow your search results. Click here to view a search:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
The National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed ClinicalTrials.gov to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. Studies involving Sertoli cell-only syndrome may not be listed at a particular time, but the site should be checked often for updates. To search for a study, use "Sertoli cell only" as your search term. Since SCO syndrome is a cause of non-obstructive azoospermia, using this term may also help you locate studies involving men with SCO syndrome.
You can also contact the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison (PRPL) Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We recommend calling the toll-free number listed below to speak with a specialist, who can help you determine if you are eligible for any clinical trials.
Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)
NIH Clinical Center
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2655
Web site: http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/
You can find information about participating in a clinical trial as well as learn about resources for travel and lodging assistance, through the How to Get Involved in Research guide on our GARD website. The National Institute of Health also has information about clinical trials on the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website.
Last updated: 9/12/2016
How common is Sertoli cell-only syndrome?
The prevalence of Sertoli cell-only (SCO) syndrome in the overall population is estimated to be low. Approximately 10% of couples in the United States are affected by infertility; of these couples, approximately 30% have a pure male factor
as the underlying cause, and another 20% have a combined male and female factor. Although precise figures are difficult to obtain, it is estimated that less than 5%-10% of these infertile men have SCO syndrome.
Information is limited due to the nature of the condition, as only men who have been thoroughly evaluated for infertility (including a testicular biopsy
, which is necessary for the diagnosis) have been reported.
Last updated: 9/12/2016
We hope this information is helpful. We strongly recommend you discuss this information with your doctor. If you still have questions, please
GARD Information Specialist
Please see our Disclaimer.