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Revista chilena de anatomía

versión impresa ISSN 0716-9868

Rev. chil. anat. v.16 n.2 Temuco  1998

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-98681998000200003 

 EFFECT OF AGE ON THE VOLUME AND WEIGHT OF HUMAN TESTIS

EFECTO DE LA EDAD EN EL VOLUMEN Y PESO DE LOS TESTICULOS HUMANOS

* Carlo Américo Fattini
** Gabriel Leão Rezende
** Jairo Ramos Nogueira Filho
** Walter Kenji Fukumoto
** Manuel de Jesus Simões
** João Dias Ambrósio

FATTINI, C. A.; REZENDE, G. L.; NOGUEIRA FILHO, J. R.; FUKUMOTO, W. K.; SIMÕES, M. J. & AMBRÓSIO, J. D. Effect of age on the volume and weight of human testis. Rev. Chil. Anat., 16(2):185-190, 1998.

SUMMARY: The weight and volume of human testes (right and left) were studied during the aging process.

Sixty testes from human adult, white cadavers aged from 20 to 89 years were divided into seven groups. After dissection, both testes were weighed and their volumes determined.

The Student's test and the Pearson correlation were used in order to analyze the results.

The results showed that there was no statistical correlation between age, weight and volume of testes for each age group.

KEY WORDS: 1. Testis; 2. Anatomy; 3. Age; 4. Volume; 5. Weight.

INTRODUCTION

The aging in the woman's reproductive potential has been well described. However, little attention has been given to the effects of aging on the reproductive function in man. Although the effects on fertility are less pronounced than in woman, the advanced age must have an impact on the male reproductive functions, namely a decrease of the sexual performance as well as changes in the testicular morphology (MURRAY & MEACHAM, 1993).

With regard to the macroscopic aspects, SAPPEY (1889) refers that the testes vary according to the individual and according to the age, and the weight would be directly related to its volume. PASTEAU (1901) describes that in the adult age great individual variations occur with regard to dimensions; whereas TESTUT (1901) reports that the testis volume can be maintained until very advanced age, and also that the two testes habitually possess the same dimensions.

SALA (1912) describes the testes as being small until puberty, when they grow very quickly and reach the maximum of their development in the period of sexual activity, decreasing volume with age. SALA, GÉRARD (1921), CHIARUGI (1930), BENNINGHOFF & GOERTTLER (1980) refer that the left testis is bigger than the right one. However, GARDNER et al. (1964) refer that the right testis is heavier. KALER & NEAVES (1978) state that both are alike.

HARBITZ (1973) and GRIFFIN & WILSON (1992) reported that the testis weights and volume vary widely in all ages and that they do not present association with age. Nevertheless, OSHIMA et al. (1984) and JOHNSON et al. (1988) state that there is a negative correlation between age and testicular volume.

Due to these divergences in the literature, in this initial work we intend to evaluate the weight and the volume of the testes (left and right) during the aging process.

MATERIAL AND METHOD

Sixty testes of human adult, white cadavers from the Death Verification Service of Escola Paulista de Medicina, São Paulo, Brazil were used. After identification and determination of age at the time of death, they were distributed into seven groups: GI - 20-29 years old; GII - 30-39; GIII - 40-49; GIV - 50-59; GV - 60-69; GVI - 70-79 and GVII - 80-89 years old. The groups I and VII were represented by five individuals and the other ones by ten.

Criteria for exclusion of cadavers to be used were: diseases of the genital-urinary apparatus or of the endocrine system; AIDS; expoliating diseases; obesity or caquexia. Testes were collected within 20 h after death.

Initially the height of the cadavers was measured, and thereafter the testis were removed, dissected, taking away elements of the spermatic cord and the epididymis, in order to leave the tunica albuginea of testis exposed and clean.

After these procedures, each of the testis was weighed in a analytic scale (Micronal 200), and the volume was determined using a graduated beaker containing physiological solution.

Statistical analysis

Test "t" of Student and Pearson correlation were performed (SOKAL & ROHLF, 1969; SIEGEL, 1975); the rejection level for null hypothesis was fixed at 5%.

RESULTS

The testis weight and volume in the several studied groups are shown in Table I. No significant differences were found in the several studied groups regarding the volumes and weight of the right and the left organs (Fig. 1 and 2).

  Table I. Distribution of weight and volume of human testes in different ages. Data are shown as means ± standard deviations of the means.

 
Stature
Weight (g)
Volume (ml)
Group
(m)
Right
Left
Right
Left

I 1.76 ± 0.12 13.77 ± 5.96 12.70 ± 5.70 13.40 ± 5.85 12.00 ± 5.33
II 1.67 ± 0.07 16.17 ± 7.28 13.69 ± 6.18 15.90 ± 6.88 13.10 ± 5.89
III 1.67 ± 0.08 17.76 ± 8.32 16.48 ± 6.75 17.40 ± 8.23 16.40 ± 8.30
IV 1.67 ± 0.06 18.17 ± 7.58 17.74 ± 8.88 17.70 ± 7.42 17.20 ± 6.54
V 1.65 ± 0.05 14.10 ± 4.62 13.77 ± 4.73 13.60 ± 4.29 13.20 ± 4.68
VI 1.59 ± 0.04 13.54 ± 5.00 14.79 ± 4.94 13.20 ± 4.80 14.40 ± 4.85
VII 1.65 ± 0.08 15.06 ± 4.72 13.34 ± 3.80 14.40 ± 4.38 12.60 ± 3.57

DISCUSSION

After the removal of the testes, we noticed that they did not have the characteristic turgor of the alive ones, always being flaccid. At first, we believed that this was due to a loss of blood through the spermatic cord. We tested this hypothesis by tying the spermatic cord before the removal of the testes. However, we found the same testicular flaccidity, thus suggesting that it was due to a normal post-mortem phenomenon. Another observation was that, after being immersed in Bouin solution during at least one hour, the testis acquired its turgor. Being so, it is important that the testis measurements are made before any fixation procedure in order to avoid volume or weight alterations.

Literature data of testicular weights are shown in Table II.

We found in our material the average testicular weight to be 15.5 g, with a wide dispersion between the extreme values and among the several age groups. We did not find statistical correlation between the weights and the volumes with elapsing of age; however, we believe that the testis may be considered to be somewhat more voluminous when the age group 30-50 years is analyzed.

Table II. Human testicular weights. Some data are given as minimum and maximum values

Weights (g) Reference

6.5-15.0 SAPPEY (1989)
8.0-10.0 PASTEAU in POIRIER & CHARPY (1901), quoting HENLE
8.0 PASTEAU in POIRIER & CHARPY (1901), quoting MECKEL
9.0-10.0 PASTEAU in POIRIER & CHARPY (1901), quoting CURLING
16.0 PASTEAU in POIRIER & CHARPY (1901), quoting COOPER
14.0-18.0 TESTUT (1901)
15.0-25.0 EBERTH in BADERLEBEN (1904)
15.0-20.0 SALA in BERTELLI et al. (1912)
21.0 CHIARUGI (1930)
20.0 ROUVIERE (1948)
25.0 GARDNER et al. (1964)
10.0-20.0 HARBITZ (1973)
5.0-37.0 KALER & NEAVES (1978)
10.5-14.0 WARWICK & WILLIAMS (1979)
20.0-30.0 BENNINGHOFF & GOERTTLER (1980)
10.0-14.0 HAMILTON (1982)
12.0-18.0 FUMAGALLI & CAVALLOTI (1983)

Fig. 1. Testis volume (ml) versus groups: GI = 20-29; GII = 30-39; GIV = 40-49; GV = 50-59; GVI = 60-69; GVII = 70-79; GVII = 80-89 years old.

Fig. 2. Testis weight (g) versus groups: GI = 20-29; GII = 30-39; GIV = 40-49; GV = 50-59; GVI = 60-69; GVII = 70-79; GVII = 80-89 years old.

With regard to the determination of the testicular volume, we preferred the method of liquid displacement, rather than the mathematical equations used by several authors (HAYASHI et al., 1988; FUSE et al., 1990) who take into account only the testis length and width. KOTHARI & GUPTA (1974) and GUPTA et al. (1975) measured the three dimensions of the testis and applied mathematical formulae. LOMEO & GIAMBERSIO (1991) believe that in order to determine the testicular volume by the ultra-sound, besides the length and the width, the thickness should also be taken into account. FUSE reported that, due to technical difficulties, only the width and the length are measurable by the ultra-sound. In our material we did not have these problems, provided that the testes could be evaluated by the displacement of the physiologic solution in a graduate test tube.

Among the authors that present numeric data of the testicular volume, we quote: EBERTH (1904) 20 ml; SALA 20 ml; GÉRARD 20 ml; KOTHARI & GUPTA between 5.3 and 23.3 ml; GRIFFIN & WILSON 12 to 25 ml. In our findings, the average volume was 14.60 ml, also with a wide dispersion between the extreme values and between the several age groups. As mentioned previously, we did not find significant statistical variations among the volumes between the right and the left sides, neither with elapsing of age or stature.

With regard to the testis height and weight, we did not find any significant correlation between right and left sides.

FATTINI, C. A.; REZENDE, G. L.; NOGUEIRA FILHO, J. R.; FUKUMOTO, W. K.; SIMÕES, M. J. & AMBRÓSIO, J. D. Efecto de la edad en el volumen y peso de los testículos humanos. Rev. Chil. Anat., 16(2):185-190, 1998.

RESUMEN: Se estudió el efecto que tiene el envejecimiento en el volumen y el peso de los testículos humanos, para lo cual fueron utilizados los testículos (derecho e izquierdo) de 60 cadáveres, de individuos adultos y blancos. Se dividió la muestra, de acuerdo a la edad, en siete grupos la cual fluctuaba entre los 20 y 89 años.

Posteriormente a la disección y extracción de los testículos, éstos fueron pesados y determinado su volumen a través del desplazamiento líquido. Para el análisis de los resultados se empléo el test "t"de Student y la correlación de Pearson.

Los resultados mostraron que no existe correlación estadística entre la edad, el peso y el volumen de los testículos en cada grupo etario estudiado.

KEY WORDS: 1. Testículo; 2. Anatomía; 3. Edad; 4. Volumen; 5. Peso.

* Department of Morphology of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and Universidade de Alfenas (UNIFENAS), Minas Gerais, Brazil.
** Department of Morphology of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo - Escola Paulista de Medicina, São Paulo, Brazil.

Dirección para correspondencia:
Prof. Dr. Manuel de Jesus Simões
Universidade Federal de São Paulo /EPM
Departamento de Morfologia
Disciplina de Histologia
Rua Botucatu 740
CEP 04023-900
São Paulo, SP
BRASIL

Recibido : 12-08-1998
Aceptado : 15-09-1998

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