Androgen receptor roles in spermatogenesis and infertility

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Aug;29(4):595-605. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2015.04.006. Epub 2015 Apr 25.


Androgens such as testosterone are steroid hormones essential for normal male reproductive development and function. Mutations of androgen receptors (AR) are often found in patients with disorders of male reproductive development, and milder mutations may be responsible for some cases of male infertility. Androgens exert their action through AR and its signalling in the testis is essential for spermatogenesis. AR is not expressed in the developing germ cell lineage so is thought to exert its effects through testicular Sertoli and peri-tubular myoid (PTM) cells. AR signalling in spermatogenesis has been investigated in rodent models where testosterone levels are chemically supressed or models with transgenic disruption of AR. These models have pinpointed the steps of spermatogenesis that require AR signalling, specifically maintenance of spermatogonial numbers, blood-testis barrier integrity, completion of meiosis, adhesion of spermatids and spermiation, together these studies detail the essential nature of androgens in the promotion of male fertility.

Keywords: androgen receptor; male infertility; spermatogenesis; testes; testosterone; transgenic mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism*
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Spermatogenesis*


  • Receptors, Androgen