Ethanol inhibits testosterone biosynthesis by direct action on Leydig cells

Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1979 Apr;24(1):87-102.


Ethanol was found to suppress gonadotropin-stimulated testosterone biosynthesis in sexually mature male rats in vivo and in intact Leydig cells in vitro. A similar ethanol dose-response inhibition curve was also observed when either whole or homogenized cells were stimulated by dibutyryl cyclic AMP. In the presence of pharmacologically relevant ethanol concentrations, added NAD+ restored testosterone production to stimulated control levels. These results demonstrate a direct inhibitory effect of ethanol on testicular testosterone synthesis. The site of inhibition is primarily intracellular and the mechanism is probably through a decrease in the NAD+/NADH ratio caused by ethanol oxidation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leydig Cells / drug effects*
  • Leydig Cells / metabolism
  • Male
  • NAD / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Testosterone / biosynthesis*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • NAD
  • Ethanol
  • Testosterone