Líf- og umhverfisvísindastofnun

Testicular steroidogenic cells in health and disease

Föstudagur, August 25, 2017 -
10:00 to 11:00
Nánari staðsetning: 
Stofa 121
Testicular steroidogenic cells in health and disease

Malgorzata Kotula-Balak currently serves as an Assistant Professor (with PhD. DSc. in 2014) in the Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology 
and Earth Sciences at the Jagiellonian University.
Sex steroid producing cells of the testis were discovered by Franz 
Leydig in 1850. His perfect description of testicular steroidogenic 
cells was for the next decades confirmed and developed based on the 
results from both experimental and epidemiological studies. Recent 
data revealed two (three in human) Leydig cells proliferation waves. 
The physiology, biochemical features as well as mechanisms of 
individual population degradation and its fluent replacement is 
scarcely known. On the other hand the multi-levels regulation of 
steroidogenesis is explored in more details. This process is under 
control of gonadotropin and other hormonal (e.g. thyrotropin, 
estrogens) and non-hormonal (e.g. cAMP, steroidogenic acute regulatory 
protein) factors. Androgen production begins in fetal Leydig cells, 
thus development and differentiation of the gonad and its cells is 
controlled at very beginning. Proper Leydig cells function is 
reflected by the balance between androgens and estrogens produced by 
these cells. Any disturbance in morphology and/or steroid biosynthesis 
(primary or secondary hormonal imbalance) results in serious 
testicular dysfunctions (e.g. cryptorchidism, spermatogenesis defect 
and/or inhibition). The latter one is revealed in Klinfelter’s 
syndrome where spermatogenesis is destroyed and Leydig cells became 
hypertrophic and hyperplastic producing an excess of estrogens. 
Nowadays, cryptorchidism is one of the most frequent cause of male 
infertility. In this disease defect of  Leydig cells and 
spermatogenesis  disturbances can be a consequence of action of 
hormonally active environmental chemicals with anti-androgenic or 
estrogenic properties. Similarly, Leydigioma (Leydig cells tumor) can 
be initiated by an altered estrogen microenvironment (increased 
estrogen level and/or altered signalization). These and other related 
issues on Leydig cells physiology and pathology and its relation to 
testis function will be presented herein based on own and recent 
literature data.

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