The Joint Annual Scientific Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2018

Manipulating testicular androgen production to promote lifelong male health (#32)

Lee Smith 1 2
  1. MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. College of Engineering, Science and Environment, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Androgen production by the testis is essential for fetal masculinisation and male fertility. More recently androgens have been shown to support lifelong male health, with low testosterone associated with a wide range of clinical co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and also age-related degeneration. Conversely androgen replacement therapy has also been associated with negative clinical outcomes in some cases, suggesting that alternative approaches to develop, maintain, and support a healthy androgen profile throughout life are worth exploring. To address this, we have utilised a series of transgenic mouse models to dissect out genetic, cellular and age-related influences on the androgen production machinery and in particular, the testicular Leydig cells. This has identified a functional paracrine network, working through multiple cell-types, to support the development and function of this important cell type throughout life, and identified novel pathways for manipulation to improve lifelong male health.