Leydig cells or Interstitial Cells – Class 12 | Chapter – 3 | Biology Short Notes Series PDF

Leydig cells or interstitial cells: Leydig cells are also known as interstitial cells. They are located in the testicle near the seminiferous tubules. Leydig cells feature a polyhedral structure, a big conspicuous nucleus, and eosinophilic cytoplasm. They also feature a large number of lipid-filled vesicles.

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Functions of Leydig cells or Interstitial Cells

  • Leydig cells or Interstitial Cells synthesize and secrete androgens (testicular hormones).
  • The pituitary gland secretes luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates interstitial cells (Leydig cells) to secrete androgens like testosterone hormone.
  • Androgens are steroid hormones that include testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
  • The enzyme desmolase actively converts androstenedione and DHEA into testosterone.
  • Androgens are crucial in the development of secondary sexual characteristics throughout puberty, such as facial hair growth, sexual behavior, desire, and so on.
  • The parenchyma of the testis is formed by the seminiferous tubules.

Structure of Leydig cells or Interstitial Cells

  • Leydig cells or Interstitial Cells are located around the seminiferous tubules constituting groups of one to ten cells. These cells are typically polygonal, having an eosinophilic cytoplasm, a sizable, round nucleus, and a prominent nucleolus. The amount of lipids is high.
  • These cells produce testosterone; therefore, they have characteristics of steroid-secreting cells, such as a significant number of mitochondria with tubulovesicular cristae, a large and well-developed smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and numerous vast and enormous lipid droplets.
  • Lipofuscin, which appears as numerous rounded irregular entities and is another frequent observation in Leydig cells, is a lipid droplet accumulation found in lysosomes.
  • Leydig cells or Interstitial Cells are known to contain Reinke’s crystalloids, which are pale coloured cytoplasmic inclusions. These crystals often have a linear arrangement and a rod-like or cylindrical shape.

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