Leydig cells in males (Frequently Asked Questions)

Frequently Asked Questions on Leydig Cells in Males


Leydig cells FAQ


Structure, location, and functions of Leydig cells


What are Leydig cells?

  • Leydig cells are those cells that produce testosterone. They are also known as interstitial cells.

Where are Leydig cells present?

  • Leydig cells are in the lobules of each testicle. These cells are present as clusters between the seminiferous tubules. The lobule is made up of dense irregular connective tissue which is known as ‘tunica albuginea.’


Leydig cells haploid or diploid?

  • Leydig cells are diploid. Gametes are the only cells in males that are haploid.


What is the function of Leydig cells? 

  • Leydig cells produce testosterone, which is the most prevalent androgen. Testosterone promotes a man’s libido and the development of masculine characteristics.


How do Leydig cells help in spermatogenesis?

  • Leydig cells secrete testosterone which creates an environment that facilitates the normal progression of germ cells through stage 7 of the spermatogenic cycle.


Leydig cell abnormalities


Is Leydig cell tumor cancer?

  • Leydig cell tumor is a tumor of Leydig cells. It can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).


What is Leydig cell hyperplasia?

  • Hyperplasia means an enlargement of an organ or tissue due to an increased rate of cell division. This is usually the initial stage in the development of cancer. As evident from the definition, an increase in the number of Leydig cells due to the increased rate of its cell division is known as Leydig cell hyperplasia.
  • Because of Leydig cell hyperplasia, there is increased conversion to testosterone to estradiol leading to hypogonadism; the symptoms of which in adults are:
      • Unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides) asymmetric gynecomastia (man boobs) may appear months or years before the appearance of the tumor
      • Erectile dysfunction usually along with a decrease in libido
      • Infertility due to a decrease in sperm count or zero sperm count
    • In children, it may lead to pseudo puberty and androgen secretion.


What is Leydig cell hypoplasia?

  • Leydig cells hypoplaisa is a condition in which there is an underdevelopment of the Leydig cells. Since Leydig cells secrete testosterone - a male sex hormone, it’s under activity will have a range of genital abnormalities.
  • Affected males may have a small penis, the urethral opening is on the underside of the penis depending on the type (glandular, distal penile, penile, scrotal, and perineal) and a scrotum with two lobes.
  • Males with more severity of Leydig cell hypoplasia have small undescended testicles leading to a complete nondevelopment of secondary sexual characteristics.
  • Extreme cases of Leydig cell hypoplasia are classified as type 1 while milder cases are classified as type 1.


Leydig cells and Sertoli cells difference

  • Alternative names: 
    • Leydig cells are known as interstitial cells while Sertoli cells are known as sustentacular cells.
  • Location:
    • Leydig cells are present as clusters between the seminiferous tubules in the lobules of the testes while Sertoli cells are embedded amongst the spermatogenic cells in the seminiferous tubules.
  • Function:
      • Leydig cells produce the male sex hormone testosterone while Sertoli cells form the blood-testis barrier and provide support and protection to the spermatogenic cells.
    • Please click here to read more on Sertoli cells.


Leydig cells hyperplasia vs tumor

  • Leydig cells hyperplasia is the increase in the number of normal Leydig cells.
  • Leydig cells tumor is the increase in the number of abnormal (tumorous) Leydig cells.


Leydig cells tumor vs seminoma

  • Leydig cell tumor is a tumor (either benign or malignant) of the Leydig cells while seminoma is a malignant tumor of the germ cells.


Leydig cells and hormones


Leydig cells and LH

  • LH (luteinizing hormone) secreted by the pituitary gland stimulates the Leydig cells to secrete testosterone.


Leydig cells and estrogen

  • A small amount of testosterone secreted by Leydig cells will be converted to estradiol by cytochrome P450 aromatase enzyme at Leydig cells.


Leydig cell aplasia

  • Aplasia refers to the complete or partial absence of tissues or cells from birth.
  • The symptoms of Leydig cell aplasia is similar to that of type 1 or severe Leydig cell hypoplasia.


Leydig cells tumor calretinin 

  • Calretinin is a marker used in the diagnosis of Leydig cell tumors.


How to increase Leydig cells naturally?

  • Leydig cells secrete testosterone, an androgen responsible for a man’s sex drive and masculine characteristics. 
  • There are many supplements available in the market which has shown impressive results in boosting the levels of testosterone. Some of them are Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), ginger, zinc, vitamin D, Fenugreek, Shilajit (Asphaltum punjabianum), and d-aspartic acid.
  • The maximum benefits can be gained by using a combination of herbs.
  • The best time to take this herbal mixture is at night just before going to bed and immediately after waking up in the morning. It should be taken with warm milk for maximum benefits.
  • Ligora is one such product with a combination of all the right herbs in extract form along with essential medicinal mineral salts in the right proportions.



Note: I try to answer these questions in a simple and easy to understand language for those who are not associated with the medical or paramedical field. Feel free to leave feedback or a comment if you want me to explain something.


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