Virchows Archiv B

, 58:215 | Cite as

Effects of prolonged cyclosporine-A treatment on the Leydig cells of the rat testis

  • Letizia Cavallini
  • Ludwik K. Malendowicz
  • Giuseppina Mazzocchi
  • Anna S. Belloni
  • Gastone G. Nussdorfer


The effects of a prolonged (30-day) treatment with daily therapeutical doses of cyclosporin A (CAS) (20 mg/kg) on testicular Leydig cells were studied in adult rats. CSA administration provoked a significant decrease in both basal and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-stimulated testosterone concentration in the peripheral blood without affecting the volume of the testes or the interstitial space. However, there was conspicuous atrophy of the Leydig cells, due mainly to a decrease in mitochondria and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, the organelles containing the enzymes of testosterone synthesis. Lipid droplets, in which cholesterol is stored, were notably increased. The nuclear volume and the surface area per cell of rough endoplasmic reticulum fell significantly in Leydig cells of CAS-treated animals. In light of these findings, it is concluded that CSA inhibits the growth and steroidogenic capacity of rat Leydig cells, probably by depressing their protein synthesis. Whether the mechanism underlying the action of CSA on Leydig cells is only indirect, by blockade of hypophyseal gonadotropin release, or also direct is unsettled and requires further investigation.

Key words

Cyclosporine-A Leydig cells Testos-terone Electron Microscopy Rat 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Letizia Cavallini
    • 1
  • Ludwik K. Malendowicz
    • 2
  • Giuseppina Mazzocchi
    • 1
  • Anna S. Belloni
    • 1
  • Gastone G. Nussdorfer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Histology and EmbryologyPoznan Academy of MedicinePoznanPoland

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