PURPOSE: As diagnosed by ultrasonography, testicular microlithiasis is associated with various benign and malignant conditions. The molecular constitution of these microliths is largely unknown. Raman spectroscopy provides detailed in situ information about the molecular composition of tissues and to our knowledge it has not been applied to gonadal microliths. We analyzed the molecular composition of gonadal microlithiasis and its surrounding region using Raman spectroscopy in malignant and benign conditions.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multiple microliths from 6 independent samples diagnosed with gonadal microlithiasis by ultrasound and histologically confirmed were investigated by Raman spectroscopy. The samples included 4 testicular parenchyma samples adjacent to a germ cell tumor (4 seminomas), a gonadoblastoma of a dysgenetic gonad and testicular biopsy of a subfertile male without malignancy.
RESULTS: Raman spectroscopic mapping demonstrated that testicular microliths were located within the seminiferous tubule. Glycogen surrounded all microliths in the samples associated with germ cell neoplasm but not in the benign case. The molecular composition of the 26 microliths in all 6 conditions was pure hydroxyapatite.
CONCLUSIONS: Microliths in the testis are located in the seminiferous tubules and composed of hydroxyapatite. In cases of germ cell neoplasm they co-localize with glycogen deposits.