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Event: 413

Key Event Title

A descriptive phrase which defines a discrete biological change that can be measured. More help

Reduction, Testosterone synthesis in Leydig cells

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. More help
Reduction, Testosterone synthesis in Leydig cells
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Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. More help
Level of Biological Organization
Cellular

Cell term

The location/biological environment in which the event takes place.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help
Cell term
testosterone secreting cell

Organ term

The location/biological environment in which the event takes place.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help

Key Event Components

The KE, as defined by a set structured ontology terms consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 14 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; https://aopwiki.org/info_pages/2/info_linked_pages/7#List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling).Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signaling).  The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signaling by that receptor).  Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description.  To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons.  If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests.  Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help
Process Object Action
testosterone biosynthetic process testosterone decreased

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
PPAR and reproductive toxicity KeyEvent Elise Grignard (send email) Not under active development Under Development
PPARα activation leading to impaired fertility KeyEvent Elise Grignard (send email) Open for citation & comment EAGMST Under Review
Adult Leydig Cell Dysfunction KeyEvent Susan Laws (send email) Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome
Decreased testosterone synthesis leading to short AGD KeyEvent Terje Svingen (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KE.In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
rat Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
human Homo sapiens High NCBI
mice Mus sp. Low NCBI

Life Stages

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KE. More help

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KE. More help

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. More help

Biological state

Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in humans and other vertebrates.

Biological compartments

In humans and other mammals, testosterone is secreted primarily by the testicles of males and, to a lesser extent, the ovaries of females and other steroidogenic tissues (e.g., brain, adipose). It either acts locally /or is transported to other tissues via blood circulation. Testosterone synthesis takes place within the mitochondria of Leydig cells, the testosterone-producing cells of the testis. It is produced upon stimulation of these cells by Luteinizing hormone (LH) that is secreted in pulses into the peripheral circulation by the pituitary gland in response to Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus. Testosterone and its aromatized product, estradiol, feed back to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to suppress transiently LH and thus testosterone production. In response to reduced testosterone levels, GnRH and LH are produced. This negative feedback cycle results in pulsatile secretion of LH followed by pulsatile production of testosterone (Ellis, Desjardins, and Fraser 1983), (Chandrashekar and Bartke 1998).

General role in biology

Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. Male sexual differentiation depends on testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and the expression of androgen receptors by target cells (Manson and Carr 2003). During the development secretion of androgens by Leydig cells is essential for masculinization of the foetus (Nef 2000). The foetal Leydig cells develop in utero. These cells become competent to produce testosterone in rat by gestational day (GD) 15.5, with increasing production thereafter. Peak steroidogenic activity is reached just prior to birth, on GD19 (Chen, Ge, and Zirkin 2009). Testosterone secreted by foetal Leydig cells is required for the differentiation of the male urogenital system late in gestation (Huhtaniemi and Pelliniemi 1992). Foetal Leydig cells also play a role in the scrotal descent of the testis through their synthesis of insulin-like growth factor 3 (Insl3), for review see (Nef 2000).

In humans, the first morphological sign of testicular differentiation is the formation of testicular cords, which can be seen between 6 and 7 weeks of gestation. Steroid-secreting Leydig cells can be seen in the testis at 8 weeks of gestation. At this period, the concentration of androgens in the testicular tissue and blood starts to rise, peaking at 14-16 weeks of gestation. This increase comes with an increase in the number of Leydig cells for review see (Rouiller-Fabre et al. 2009).

Adult Leydig cells, which are distinct from the foetal Leydig cells, form during puberty and supply the testosterone required for the onset of spermatogenesis, among other functions. Distinct stages of adult Leydig cell development have been identified and characterized. The stem Leydig cells are undifferentiated cells that are capable of indefinite self-renewal but also of differentiation to steroidogenic cells. These cells give rise to progenitor Leydig cells, which proliferate, continue to differentiate, and give rise to the immature Leydig cells. Immature Leydig cells synthesize high levels of testosterone metabolites and develop into terminally differentiated adult Leydig cells, which produce high levels of testosterone. With aging, both serum and testicular testosterone concentrations progressively decline, for review see (Nef 2000).

Androgens play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of male reproductive and sexual functions. Low levels of circulating androgens can cause disturbances in male sexual development, resulting in congenital abnormalities of the male reproductive tract. Later in life, this may cause reduced fertility, sexual dysfunction, decreased muscle formation and bone mineralisation, disturbances of fat metabolism, and cognitive dysfunction. Testosterone levels decrease as a process of ageing: signs and symptoms caused by this decline can be considered a normal part of ageing.

How It Is Measured or Detected

A description of the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements.These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA). Do not provide detailed protocols. More help

OECD TG 456 [1] is the validated test guideline for an in vitro screen for chemical effects on steroidogenesis, specifically the production of 17ß-estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T). The testosterone syntheis can be measured in vitro cultured Leydig cells. The methods for culturing Leydig cells can be found in the Database Service on Alternative Methods to animal experimentation (DB-ALM): Leydig Cell-enriched Cultures [2], Testicular Organ and Tissue Culture Systems [3].

Testosterone synthesis in vitro cultured cells can be measured indirectly by testosterone radioimmunoassay or analytical methods such as LC-MS.

Domain of Applicability

A description of the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided).  More help

Key enzymes needed for testosterone production first appear in the common ancestor of amphioxus and vertebrates (Baker 2011). Consequently, this key event is applicable to most vertebrates, including humans.

References

List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. More help

Chandrashekar, V, and A Bartke. 1998. “The Role of Growth Hormone in the Control of Gonadotropin Secretion in Adult Male Rats.” Endocrinology 139 (3) (March): 1067–74. doi:10.1210/endo.139.3.5816.

Ellis, G B, C Desjardins, and H M Fraser. 1983. “Control of Pulsatile LH Release in Male Rats.” Neuroendocrinology 37 (3) (September): 177–83. Huhtaniemi, I, and L J Pelliniemi. 1992. “Fetal Leydig Cells: Cellular Origin, Morphology, Life Span, and Special Functional Features.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (New York, N.Y.) 201 (2) (November): 125–40.

Manson, Jeanne M, and Michael C Carr. 2003. “Molecular Epidemiology of Hypospadias: Review of Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors.” Birth Defects Research. Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratology 67 (10) (October): 825–36. doi:10.1002/bdra.10084.

Nef, S. 2000. “Hormones in Male Sexual Development.” Genes & Development 14 (24) (December 15): 3075–3086. doi:10.1101/gad.843800.

Rouiller-Fabre, Virginie, Vincent Muczynski, Romain Lambrot, Charlotte Lécureuil, Hervé Coffigny, Catherine Pairault, Delphine Moison, et al. 2009. “Ontogenesis of Testicular Function in Humans.” Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica / Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Histochemical and Cytochemical Society 47 (5) (January): S19–24. doi:10.2478/v10042-009-0065-4.