Peritubular cells may modulate Leydig cell mediated testosterone production through a nonclassic pathway

Peritubular cell secreted factor(s) may modulate T production by Leydig cells in a nonclassic mode, independent of StAR gene expression even in a gonadotropin-deficient environment.

Jibanananda Mishra, Ph.D., Mukesh Gautam, M.Sc., Rajesh Dadhich, Ph.D., Bhavani S. Kowtharapu, Ph.D., Subeer S. Majumdar, Ph.D.

Volume 98, Issue 5, Pages 1308-1317.e1, November 2012


To evaluate if paracrine signals are responsible for hormone independent Leydig cell (Lc) steroidogenesis in the testis.

Testicular peritubular cells (PTc), Sertoli cell (Sc) and Lc were isolated and cultured and their effect on each other was evaluated in terms of lactate production by Sc and Testosterone (T) production by Lc.

Research institution.

Wistar rats.

Testes were surgically removed and a new easily adoptable procedure for PTc was developed and culture media from Sc, PTc and Lc cultures were used for treating pure population of these cells. Cells were also co-cultured together.

Main outcome measure(s):
To assess culture or co-culture supernatants for presence of metabolites and Lc messenger RNA analysis.

Although PTc secreted factor(s) did not augment production of Sc lactate, essential for germ cell survival, they significantly (P<0.05) augmented T secretion by Lc, independent of StAR gene expression. Co-culture studies showed that T production by Lc was significantly (P<0.05) stimulated when Lc were co-cultured with PTc, even in the absence of hormones. Conclusion(s):
Testicular peritubular cell–derived factor(s) can potentially augment T production by Lc in a non-classical manner even in a gonadotropin-deficient environment.

  • José Martínez-Jabaloyas

    Congratulations for this excellent work. It contributes to clarify the complex testis
    physiopathology. The question is if this pathway could have some function in
    spermatogenesis regulation or only is a mechanism that could contribute to maintain
    testosterone levels.

    • subeer majumdar

      This pathway allows us to learn that there are molecules working
      locally in the testis to provoke androgen production and we still need
      to see if this pathway gets augmented due to any reason to cause
      overproduction of androgen prepubertally or whether it has any local
      essential role to support spermatogenesis. Further studies are required
      to explore this phenomenon.

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