Catecholamines stimulate testicular testosterone release of the immature golden hamster via interaction with alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptors

Acta Endocrinol (Copenh). 1992 Dec;127(6):526-30. doi: 10.1530/acta.0.1270526.


Several lines of evidence suggest that catecholamines are involved in the regulation of the development of the testis. We have therefore investigated the ability of testicular parenchyma (decapsulated pieces of testes) from 18 to 20-day-old golden hamsters to respond to catecholaminergic stimuli in vitro. Norepinephrine and epinephrine, as well as the beta-receptor agonist isoproterenol and the alpha-adrenoreceptor agonist phenylephrine were able to significantly stimulate testicular testosterone production. Dopamine and serotonin were not effective. The stimulatory action of norepinephrine on testosterone production was dependent on the concentration. In incubations of testes with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and norepinephrine, no synergistic effects on testosterone release were observed. The stimulatory effect of norepinephrine could be partially blocked by incubation with beta-receptor antagonist propranolol, or with alpha-receptor antagonist prazosin, while a combination of propranolol and prazosin completely inhibited the norepinephrine-induced testosterone production. Moreover, isoproterenol and phenylephrine in combination stimulated testosterone more than either drug did alone. Measurements of concentrations of norepinephrine and epinephrine in testicular homogenates revealed higher values for these catecholamines than in the plasma, implying that catecholamine levels in the interstitial spaces of the testis might be in the range of concentrations effectively stimulating testosterone production in vitro. This suggests that in the immature testis of the golden hamster, catecholamines acting through both alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptors may be potent physiological stimulators of testosterone production.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catecholamines / pharmacology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Prazosin / pharmacology
  • Propranolol / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / drug effects
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / physiology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / drug effects
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology*
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Testis / ultrastructure
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Catecholamines
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Phenylephrine
  • Testosterone
  • Propranolol
  • Isoproterenol
  • Norepinephrine
  • Prazosin
  • Epinephrine