The role of kisspeptin in stimulating hypothalamic GnRH is undisputed. However, the role of kisspeptin signaling in testicular function is less clear. The testes are essential for male reproduction through their functions of spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis. Our review focused on the current literature investigating the distribution, regulation and effects of kisspeptin and its receptor (KISS1/KISS1R) within the testes of species studied to date. There is substantial evidence of localised KISS1/KISS1R expression and peptide distribution in the testes. However, variability is observed in the testicular cell types expressing KISS1/KISS1R. Evidence is presented for modulation of steroidogenesis and sperm function by kisspeptin signaling. However, the physiological importance of such effects, and whether these are paracrine or endocrine manifestations, remain unclear.
Keywords: FSH; LH; Leydig cells; Sertoli cells; kisspeptin; kisspeptin receptor; spermatogenesis; spermatozoa; testes; testosterone.