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Print version ISSN 0120-4157
On-line version ISSN 2590-7379


RODRIGUEZ, Gerzaín; ABAUNZA, María Claudia; VARGAS, Elga Johanna  and  LOPEZ, Fernando. Leprosy and the testis. Biomédica [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.1, pp.13-22. ISSN 0120-4157.

Introduction. Damage of testicles is frequent in lepromatous leprosy and worsened by the presence of erythema nodosum leprosum. Objective. A patient is presented who developed lepromatous leprosy and erythema nodosum leprosum with major testicular compromise. Material and methods. The 28-year-old male patient had lepromatous leprosy since age 22. During a polychemotherapy treatment for the lepromatous leprosy, he presented chronic erythema nodosum leprosum that affected both testicles; he did not respond to the conventional treatment. A left orchidectomy was performed to treat the persistent pain. Results. The extracted testis evidenced the following: tubular atrophy, extensive fibrosis, cumulus of foamy macrophages without rods, focal Leydig cell hyperplasia, linfocitary and granulomatous arteritis and endarteritis of small and medium size vessels. These changes were also observed in the epididymis. Two years after the polychemoterapy and the orchidectomy, the patient exhibited azoospermy, normal total testosterone, slightly diminished free testosterone and elevated levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. No loss of libido or sexual activity was reported. General concepts of erythema nodosum leprosum were reviewed, as well as the pathologic changes produced by leprosy in the testis. Conclusion. Lepromatous leprosy may lead to hypogonadism. This condition is recommended for inclusion in leprosy diagnostic programs in order to detect and treat the consequences of the possible hypogonadism.

Keywords : leprosy; leprosy, lepromatous; leprosy, multibacillary; Mycobacterium leprae; erythema nodosum; hypogonadism.

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