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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Mar;70(5):777-93. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-1079-1. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Hormonal control of Sertoli cell metabolism regulates spermatogenesis.

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CICS-UBI, Health Sciences Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Av. Infante D. Henrique, 6200-506, Covilhã, Portugal.


Hormonal regulation is essential to spermatogenesis. Sertoli cells (SCs) have functions that reach far beyond the physical support of germ cells, as they are responsible for creating the adequate ionic and metabolic environment for germ cell development. Thus, much attention has been given to the metabolic functioning of SCs. During spermatogenesis, germ cells are provided with suitable metabolic substrates, in a set of events mediated by SCs. Multiple signaling cascades regulate SC function and several of these signaling pathways are hormone-dependent and cell-specific. Within the seminiferous tubules, only SCs possess receptors for some hormones rendering them major targets for the hormonal signaling that regulates spermatogenesis. Although the mechanisms by which SCs fulfill their own and germ cells metabolic needs are mostly studied in vitro, SC metabolism is unquestionably a regulation point for germ cell development and the hormonal control of these processes is required for a normal spermatogenesis.

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