Introduction

In humans, as in all mammalian males, Leydig cells are the main source of the androgenic hormone, testosterone, which is essential for male sexual differentiation, gamete production and maturation, and development of secondary sexual characteristics. In this chapter, the development, steroidogenic function, and regulation of human Leydig cells are summarized. Clinical aspects of androgen secretion and pathology related to Leydig cells are also reviewed. The information presented is based, in part, on studies conducted in laboratory animals because of the larger database available for these species.

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