Role of androgen and gonadotrophins in the development and function of the Sertoli cells and Leydig cells: data from mutant and genetically modified mice

P.J. O'Shaughnessy*, I.D. Morris, I. Huhtaniemi, P.J. Baker, M.H. Abel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Development and maintenance of the male phenotype and establishment of fertility are all dependent upon the activity of the Sertoli cells and Leydig cells of the testis. This review examines the regulation and function of these cell during fetal and post-natal development. Fetal Leydig cells are sensitive to both luteinising hormone (LH) and adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) but Leydig cell function appears normal in fetal mice lacking both hormones or their receptors. Post-natally, the Sertoli cells and Leydig cells are reliant upon the pituitary gonadotrophins. Leydig cells are critically dependent on LH but follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), presumably acting through the Sertoli cell, can also affect Leydig cell function. Testosterone secreted by the Leydig cells acts with FSH to stimulate Sertoli cell activity and spermatogenesis. Study of animals lacking FSH-receptors and androgen-receptors shows that both hormones can act to maintain the meiotic germ cell population but that androgens are critical for completion of meiosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-8
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and cellular endocrinology
Volume306
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Testis
  • Sertoli cell
  • Leydig cell
  • Gonadotrophins
  • Androgen

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