Sertoli cells as key drivers of testis function

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2022 Jan:121:2-9. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.06.016. Epub 2021 Jul 3.


Sertoli cells are the orchestrators of spermatogenesis; they support fetal germ cell commitment to the male pathway and are essential for germ cell development, from maintenance of the spermatogonial stem cell niche and spermatogonial populations, through meiosis and spermiogeneis and to the final release of mature spermatids during spermiation. However, Sertoli cells are also emerging as key regulators of other testis somatic cells, including supporting peritubular myoid cell development in the pre-pubertal testis and supporting the function of the testicular vasculature and in contributing to testicular immune privilege. Sertoli cells also have a major role in regulating androgen production within the testis, by specifying interstitial cells to a steroidogenic fate, contributing to androgen production in the fetal testis, and supporting fetal and adult Leydig cell development and function. Here, we provide an overview of the specific roles for Sertoli cells in the testis and highlight how these cells are key drivers of testicular sperm output, and of adult testis size and optimal function of other testicular somatic cells, including the steroidogenic Leydig cells.

Keywords: Androgen; Leydig cell; Sertoli cell; Spermatogenesis; Testis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Leydig Cells / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Sertoli Cells / metabolism*
  • Testis