MIS Actions in the Developing Testis
Müllerian inhibiting substance (MIS), a gonadal glycoprotein in the TGF-β family of growth and differentiation factors, is recognized primarily for its role in promoting involution of the Müllerian ducts during normal male sexual differentiation. Continued synthesis of MIS by Sertoli cells and expression of its cognate type II receptor in the postnatal testis, however, raised the possibility of additional functions for MIS. We hypothesized that MIS plays an important role in the regulation of Leydig-cell proliferation and maturation during postnatal testicular development. This chapter will summarize the expression and binding characteristics of the MIS receptor in the postnatal testis and elucidate the actions of MIS in Leydig cells at different stages of maturation using a primary rat Leydig-cell culture model. These data suggest that this fetal growth inhibitor affects androgen production by downregulating steroidogenic enzymes and helps to maintain a normal complement of Leydig cells by constraining their proliferation, thus supporting a direct role for MIS in the developing testis.
KeywordsTestosterone Progesterone Androgen Estradiol Prolactin
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