Objective: To investigate the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGB) on the testosterone synthesis in the Leydig cells of type 2 diabetic rats.
Methods: Thirty male SD rats were equally randomised into a normal control, a type 2 diabetic and an EGB group. Morphological changes of Leydig cells were observed by light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), concentrations of serum luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone (T) were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the mRNA levels in the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc), cytochrome P450 17a-hydroxylase (P450c17), 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 3 (17beta-HSD3) and 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD1) from the Leydig cells were examined by RT-PCR.
Results: Compared with the normal control, there was a significant decrease in the number and volume of Leydig cells, the levels of serum LH and T and the expression of mRNA in StAR, P450scc, 17beta-HSD3 and 3beta-HSD1 in the type 2 diabetes group. And the expression of the P450c17 gene showed a tendency of descending, but with no significance. Compared with the type 2 diabetes group, 12 weeks of EGB treatment caused very slight pathological changes in the Leydig cells, significantly increased the concentrations of blood LH and T, markedly elevated the levels of mRNA in StAR and P450scc and induced an ascending tendency of the expressions of P450c17, 17beta-HSD3 and 3beta-HSD1.
Conclusion: EGB enhances testosterone synthesis and secretion of Leydig cells by reducing the impairment of the testis in type 2 diabetic rats.