Immune-endocrine interactions and Leydig cell function: the role of cytokines

Andrologia. 2003 Feb;35(1):55-63. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0272.2003.00537.x.


Inflammatory disease is known to affect male reproductive function and fertility. Male accessory gland infections (MAGI) account for almost 15% of all cases of male infertility seen in infertility clinics. Infections of the male accessory glands are associated with increased counts of white blood cells in semen and elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the semen and the testis. Numerous studies have underscored the importance of cytokines in the regulation of testicular and glandular function during pathophysiological events as well as under normal physiological conditions when cytokines act as growth and differentiation factors. The purpose of this paper is to particularly review the role of cytokines in the regulation of Leydig cell function in the testis primarily under pathophysiological conditions, and also considers clinical investigations that help to improve the evaluation and treatment of male infertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Genital Diseases, Male
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity*
  • Inflammation
  • Interferons / physiology
  • Interleukins / physiology
  • Leydig Cells / physiology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Male
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Steroids / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • Hormones
  • Interleukins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Steroids
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferons