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Daily Dose: Testicular Volume in Boys with Obesity


Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

On May 10, 2023, we reported on a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology that examined the impact of obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance on testicular volume (TV) among boys aged 2-18 years.

The study

Researchers conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study to evaluate the impact of overweight, obesity, and related comorbidities, eg, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance, on TV in prepubertal (aged <9 years), peripubertal (aged 9-14 years), and post-pubertal (aged 14-16 years) periods. A total of 268 boys were included in the study, of whom 206 were overweight or obese and 62 were normal weight.

The findings

Results showed that boys with normal weight had a significantly higher TV compared to those who were overweight or obese in peripubertal age. No difference was found in the other age ranges when data were grouped according to body mass index.

Participants with normal insulin levels had significantly higher TV compared to those with hyperinsulinemia in pre- and post-pubertal age. Moreover, peripubertal boys with hyperinsulinemia had significantly higher TV compared to those with normal insulin levels.

Postpubertal participants with insulin resistance had lower TV and peripubertal boys had higher TV compared to those without insulin resistance. Investigators did not note a difference in prepuberty.

A note from authors

"Since a lower TV is predictive of worse sperm production, these results help to understand the reason for the high prevalence of testicular hypotrophy in young men. We speculate that more careful control of body weight in this time window could represent a prevention strategy to pursue the maintenance of testicular function later in life. If further studies will confirm our findings, there will be room for primary prevention of male infertility in pediatric clinics (pediatric andrology). Indeed, an accurate assessment of TV at each visit and the construction of TV growth curves would help identify early deviations in TV growth in children and adolescents."

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