The roles and mechanisms of Leydig cells and myoid cells in regulating spermatogenesis

  • Rui Zhou
  • Jingrouzi Wu
  • Bang Liu
  • Yiqun Jiang
  • Wei Chen
  • Jian Li
  • Quanyuan He
  • Zuping HeEmail author


Spermatogenesis is fundamental to the establishment and maintenance of male reproduction, whereas its abnormality results in male infertility. Somatic cells, including Leydig cells, myoid cells, and Sertoli cells, constitute the microenvironment or the niche of testis, which is essential for regulating normal spermatogenesis. Leydig cells are an important component of the testicular stroma, while peritubular myoid cells are one of the major cell types of seminiferous tubules. Here we addressed the roles and mechanisms of Leydig cells and myoid cells in the regulation of spermatogenesis. Specifically, we summarized the biological features of Leydig cells and peritubular myoid cells, and we introduced the process of testosterone production and its major regulation. We also discussed other hormones, cytokines, growth factors, transcription factors and receptors associated with Leydig cells and myoid cells in mediating spermatogenesis. Furthermore, we highlighted the issues that are worthy of further studies in the regulation of spermatogenesis by Leydig cells and peritubular myoid cells. This review would provide novel insights into molecular mechanisms of the somatic cells in controlling spermatogenesis, and it could offer new targets for developing therapeutic approaches of male infertility.


Leydig cells Myoid cells Spermatogenesis Hormones Cytokines Growth factors Transcription factors Receptors 



This work was supported by Grants from National Nature Science Foundation of China (General Programme, 31671550, 31872845, Key Programme, 31230048), Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2016YFC1000606), High Level Talent Gathering Project in Hunan Province (2018RS3066), The Open Fund of the NHC Key Laboratory of Male Reproduction and Genetics (KF201802), and Shanghai Hospital Development Center (SHDC12015122).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui Zhou
    • 1
  • Jingrouzi Wu
    • 1
  • Bang Liu
    • 1
  • Yiqun Jiang
    • 1
  • Wei Chen
    • 1
  • Jian Li
    • 1
  • Quanyuan He
    • 1
  • Zuping He
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Hunan Normal University School of MedicineChangshaChina

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