Next Article in Journal
Interferons and Their Receptors in Birds: A Comparison of Gene Structure, Phylogenetic Analysis, and Cross Modulation
Previous Article in Journal
WISP1 Polymorphisms Contribute to Platinum-Based Chemotherapy Toxicity in Lung Cancer Patients
Article Menu
Issue 11 (November) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(11), 21028-21044;

Time-Course Changes of Steroidogenic Gene Expression and Steroidogenesis of Rat Leydig Cells after Acute Immobilization Stress

Department of Anesthesiology of the Second Affiliated Hospital
Department of Pharmacology of School of Pharmacy, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, Zhejiang, China
Research Academy of Reproductive Biomedicine, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325000, Zhejiang, China
Huzhou Maternity & Child Care Hospital, Huzhou 313000, Zhejiang, China
These authors contributed equally to this work
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 June 2014 / Revised: 26 October 2014 / Accepted: 28 October 2014 / Published: 14 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
Full-Text   |   PDF [593 KB, uploaded 14 November 2014]   |  


Leydig cells secrete testosterone, which is essential for male fertility and reproductive health. Stress increases the secretion of glucocorticoid (corticosterone, CORT; in rats), which decreases circulating testosterone levels in part through a direct action by binding to the glucocorticoid receptors (NR3C1) in Leydig cells. The intratesticular CORT level is dependent on oxidative inactivation of glucocorticoid by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (HSD11B1) in Leydig cells. In the present study, we investigated the time-course changes of steroidogenic gene expression levels after acute immobilization stress in rats. The plasma CORT levels were significantly increased 0.5, 1, 3 and 6 h after immobilization stress, while plasma testosterone levels were significantly reduced 3 and 6 h, after stress and luteinizing hormone (LH) did not change. Immobilization stress caused the down-regulation of Scarb1, Star and Cyp17a1 expression levels in the rat testis starting at the first hour of stress, ahead of the significant decreases of plasma testosterone levels. Other mRNA levels, including Cyp11a1, Hsd3b1 and Hsd17b3, began to decline after 3 h. Hsd11b1 and Nos2 mRNA levels did not change during the course of stress. Administration of glucocorticoid antagonist RU486 significantly restored plasma testosterone levels. In conclusion, Scarb1, Star and Cyp17a1 expression levels are more sensitive to acute stress, and acute immobilization stress causes the decline of the steroidogenic pathway via elevating the levels of glucocorticoid, which binds to NR3C1 in Leydig cells to inhibit steroidogenic gene expression. View Full-Text
Keywords: acute stress; Leydig cell; steroidogenic enzymes; rat; corticosterone; StAR acute stress; Leydig cell; steroidogenic enzymes; rat; corticosterone; StAR

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Lin, H.; Yuan, K.-M.; Zhou, H.-Y.; Bu, T.; Su, H.; Liu, S.; Zhu, Q.; Wang, Y.; Hu, Y.; Shan, Y.; Lian, Q.-Q.; Wu, X.-Y.; Ge, R.-S. Time-Course Changes of Steroidogenic Gene Expression and Steroidogenesis of Rat Leydig Cells after Acute Immobilization Stress. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15, 21028-21044.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Mol. Sci. EISSN 1422-0067 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top