Leydig cell aging and the mechanisms of reduced testosterone synthesis

Andrew S. Midzak, Haolin Chen, Vassilios Papadopoulos, Barry R. Zirkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In males, serum testosterone levels decline with advancing age. Though part of a complex process, this age-related decline in testosterone appears to occur, in part, due to a significant decline in the ability of aged Leydig cells to produce testosterone maximally in response to luteinizing hormone (LH). The structure of the molecular machinery responsible for the synthesis of testosterone is described, and placed in the context of Leydig cell biology. Multiple parameters related to the synthesis of testosterone by the Leydig cell have been observed to change with age. Relationships among these changes are reviewed. A discussion of potential causes of the age-related decline in Leydig cell steroidogenic capacity presents a model in which the inability of aged cells to adequately respond to hormonal stimulation results in cellular regression with concomitant decline in maximal testosterone output.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 5 2009


  • Leydig cell
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Steroidogenesis
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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