Testosterone induces Ca2+ influx via non-genomic surface receptors in activated T cells

FEBS Lett. 1997 Apr 28;407(2):211-4. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(97)00346-3.


Using the Fura-2 method we investigated a possible direct action of testosterone on cytosolic free calcium of splenic T cells isolated from female C57BL/10 mice. Testosterone at physiological concentrations of 1-10 nM induces an increase in [Ca2+]i within seconds, which is due to Ca2+ influx and not to Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. In contrast, estradiol induces both Ca2+ influx and Ca2+ release. The testosterone-induced Ca2+ influx is mediated by Ni2+-blockable channels and is not inhibited by cyproterone, a blocker of the classical androgen receptor. Ca2+ influx can also be induced by testosterone conjugated to BSA which is impermeable to the plasma membrane. These data indicate a novel mode of direct action of testosterone on T cells which is not mediated through the classical androgen receptor response, but through unconventional plasma membrane receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nickel / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*


  • Calcium Channels
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Nickel
  • Calcium