Varicocele is defined as an abnormal dilatation of the testicular veins in the pampiniform plexus. It has been studied due to its high prevalence in the population and its association to male infertility. However, the study of varicocele in humans is complicated by the presence of comorbidities, lifestyle factors, and use of medications, to name a few examples, all of which potentially interfere with results. The use of experimental models limits or mitigates these effects. Rats have more frequently been used to study experimental varicocele, because their anatomy and physiology are well defined and characterized.
In the day of varicocele induction, the animal is anesthetized, and a dose of analgesic is administrated. Then, the exposition of the left renal vein is performed via abdominal incision. Varicocele induction is then accomplished by partial ligation of the left renal vein with a nonabsorbable polyester/cotton suture. Initial effects of the procedure may be observed few days after the surgery, and final dilatation of the left spermatic vein is observed at around 30 days post-induction. Studies will then need to consider how long they wish for the varicocele to be present, bearing in mind that if one is to study the effect of a full spermatogenic cycle, epididymal transit must be accounted for.
KeywordsVaricocele Experimental Left spermatic vein Left renal vein Sperm Testis Epididymis
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