Adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy (ALD/AMN) is a group of genetically determined peroxisomal disorders associated with progressive central demyelination, primary adrenal cortical insufficiency (Addison's disease) and, frequently, primary hypogonadism. Recently, testicular dysfunction was described in ALD/AMN patients but no information on sperm characteristics was provided. In this paper we studied the reproductive function of a patient with adult cerebral ALD, focusing our attention on sperm characteristics. At the time of diagnosis the patient was 22 years old, had high plasma C26 and C24 very-long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) concentrations and adrenal insufficiency. Plasma testosterone concentration was in the normal range. The patient was prescribed a low-fat diet and 'Lorenzo's oil', which led to normalization of plasma VLCFA concentrations within 3 months of therapy. Semen analysis showed normal sperm count, gross morphological alterations and reduced motility. Electron microscopy analysis of sperm cells showed pathological changes in the head, the plasma membrane and the nucleus in 60% of the spermatozoa examined. However, isolated motile spermatozoa showed normal molecular dynamics of phospholipid bilayer surface and physiological responsiveness to progesterone. At the 12 months follow-up, the patient became azoospermic and testicular histology showed arrested maturation. To our knowledge, this is the first description of sperm alterations in a post-pubertal ALD patient, in which severe impairment of spermatogenesis and rapid progression to azoospermia occurred despite normalization of plasma VLCFA concentrations.
Rapid decline of fertility in a case of adrenoleukodystrophy / Aversa, Antonio; Palleschi, S; Cruccu, G; Silvestroni, Leopoldo; Isidori, A; Fabbri, A.. - In: HUMAN REPRODUCTION. - ISSN 0268-1161. - STAMPA. - 13:(1998), pp. 2474-2479.