The Role of the Leydig Cell in Spermatogenic Function
Renshan Ge, Guorong Chen and Matthew P. Hardy
Two anatomically distinct compartments, respectively, the interstitium where Leydig cells reside and the seminiferous tubules contribute the major functions of the testis, testosterone secretion and sperm production. This structural partitioning is achieved by peritubular myoid cells, which surround the seminiferous tubules. Despite the anatomic separation of the two compartments, they are functionally coupled by endocrine and paracrine inter-communication. For example, the testosterone secreted by Leydig cells under the stimulus of luteinizing hormone (LH), diffuses into seminiferous tubules and drives spermatogenesis together with another gonadotropic hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This dependency of the seminiferous epithelium on testosterone illustrates the significance of the Leydig cell in spermatogenesis.