Secretion of activin by interstitial cells in the testis

Science  20 Jan 1989:
Vol. 243, Issue 4889, pp. 396-398
DOI: 10.1126/science.2492117


Activin, a dimer formed by the beta subunits of inhibin, has an effect that is opposite to that of inhibin in a number of biological systems. Which cell types secrete activin in vivo is not known. TM3 cells, a Leydig-derived cell line, contained messenger RNAs that hybridized with human beta A and beta B complementary DNA probes and were similar in size to the porcine messenger RNA for the beta subunits of inhibin. No hybridization to the inhibin alpha subunit was detectable in the TM3 cells. Conditioned medium from TM3 cells and from primary cultures of rat and porcine interstitial cells stimulated the release of follicle-stimulating hormone in a pituitary cell culture assay. It is likely that, in the testis, the Leydig cells secrete activin and the Sertoli cells produce inhibin, or a combination of both.