Regulation of Steroidogenic Activities in Leydig Cells by LH and an LHRH Agonist

  • Focko F. G. Rommerts
  • Rinkje Molenaar
  • Axel P. N. Themmen
  • Henk J. van der Molen
Part of the Biochemical Endocrinology book series (BIOEND)


Regulation of steroidogenesis in Leydig cells is the result of interactions between stimulatory and inhibitory processes regulated by protein hormones, peptides and steroid hormones. Investigations of isolated intact Leydig cells can assist in the elucidation of the individual regulating systems, provided that specific steps of the complete process can be measured, inhibited or activated. The mechanism of action of LH on Leydig cells has been studied for many years and much information has been obtained about the initial events. It is now generally accepted that LH stimulation of steroid production involves a concomitant increase in cAMP-dependent protein kinase and phosphorylation of various specific proteins. It is not clear yet if, and which phosphoproteins are important for stimulation of steroid production. Direct activation of mitochondrial cholesterol sidechain cleavage activity (CSCC) by phosphoproteins appears to be unlikely and there are indications that some specific rapidly turning over proteins regulate the CSCC enzyme. The ultimate regulation of CSCC activity by LH depends probably on a sequence of reactions which involves activation of membrane receptors, increased concentrations of second messengers, protein phosphorylation and synthesis of specific proteins. Recently, it has been shown that LHRH and analogues may directly regulate steroid production in gonadal cells and various preliminary observations indicate that the mechanism of action of gonadotrophic hormones and releasing hormones may be different (Hsueh et al., 1981). From a comparison of the effects of LH and LHRH on metabolic activities of Leydig cells, common important regulatory pathways for regulation of steroid production can be discerned. In addition, other regulatory systems may modulate the effects of LH.


Leydig Cell Steroid Production LHRH Agonist Calcium Ionophore A23187 Tumour Leydig Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Focko F. G. Rommerts
    • 1
  • Rinkje Molenaar
    • 1
  • Axel P. N. Themmen
    • 1
  • Henk J. van der Molen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry (Division of Chemical Endocrinology), Medical FacultyErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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