Key factors in the regulation of fetal and postnatal Leydig cell development

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Department of Cell Biology; Gen Med Prim Care



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Androgens; *Cell Differentiation; Endocrine Disruptors; Fetus; Hormones; Humans; Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins; Leydig Cells; Male


Cell Biology


The primary function of testicular Leydig cells is the production of androgens to promote sexual differentiation in the fetus, secondary sexual maturation at puberty, and spermatogenesis in the adult. The fetal and postnatal (adult) populations of Leydig cells differ morphologically and have distinct profiles of gene expression. As postnatal Leydig cells differentiate, they transition through three discrete maturational stages characterized by decreasing proliferative rate and increasing testosterone biosynthetic capacity. In this review, we discuss the development of both fetal and postnatal Leydig cells and review the regulation of this process by some of the key hormones and growth factors.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: J Cell Physiol. 2007 Nov;213(2):429-33. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID