Author(s): Klinefelter GR, Hall PF, Ewing LL
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Abstract Depriving rats of luteinizing hormone (LH) causes Leydig cells to lose smooth endoplasmic reticulum and diminishes their P450 C17-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase activity (Wing et al., 1984). LH administration to hypophysectomized rats prevents these changes in Leydig cell structure and function (Ewing and Zirkin, 1983). We adopted a multistep procedure of rat Leydig cell isolation to study the trophic effects of LH on steroidogenesis in the Leydig cell. Our method employs vascular perfusion, enzymatic dissociation, centrifugal elutriation, and Percoll gradient centrifugation. The purified Leydig cell fraction obtained after Percoll density-gradient centrifugation contains 95\% well-preserved 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta-HSD)-staining cells with ultrastructural characteristics of Leydig cells. These Leydig cells produced 248 and 29 ng of testosterone/10(6) Leydig cells when incubated for 3 h with and without a maximally stimulating concentration of ovine LH. Purified Leydig cells obtained from control rats and rats treated with testosterone-estradiol (T-E) implants for 4 days to inhibit LH production were incubated with a saturating concentration (2 microns) of pregnenolone. Leydig cells from control and T-E-implanted rats produced 537 and 200 ng of testosterone/10(6) Leydig cells X 3 h, respectively, suggesting a defect in the steroidogenic reactions converting pregnenolone to testosterone in Leydig cells from T-E-implanted rats. By using rabbit antibodies to the P450 C17-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase pig microsomal enzyme, immunoblots of one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gels of Leydig cell microsomal protein from control and 4- and 12-day T-E implanted rats revealed a continued loss of enzyme as the period of LH withdrawal continues. These results show that Leydig cells from animals deprived of LH had diminished capacity to convert pregnenolone to testosterone and reduced P450 C17-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase content.
This article was published in Biol Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science