Testis or testicles is the male reproductive organ in humans. The main function of the testes is to produce sperm and androgens. Serrtoli and Leydig cells are two types of cells in the testis.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Sertoli Cells
– Definition, Morphology, Location
2. What are Leydig Cells
– Definition, Morphology, Location
3. Difference Between Sertoli Cells and Leydig Cells
– Comparison of Key Differences
Sertoli Cells, Leydig Cells
What are Sertoli Cells
Sertoli cells are cells that are important in sperm production. They are large columnar cells in the seminiferous tubules of the testes. They extend from the basement membrane to the lumen of the seminiferous tubules. Sertoli cells are surrounded by germ cells, which are the precursors of sperm cells. These cells form the blood-testis barrier, which separates the seminiferous tubules from the bloodstream.
One of the main functions of Sertoli cells is to support the development of germ cells into mature sperm cells. They provide a specialized microenvironment that is necessary for spermatogenesis. There are growth factors in this microenvironment, such as androgen-binding protein, inhibin, and activin.
Apart from supporting the development of germ cells, Sertoli cells also play a role in regulating the blood-testis barrier. Entry of harmful substances such as toxins is prevented by this barrier. Sertoli cells form tight junctions with adjacent Sertoli cells, which creates a barrier that separates the basal compartment of the seminiferous tubules from the adluminal compartment. This blood-testis barrier is also important in the selection of germ cells that will eventually mature into sperm cells. Here, the Sertoli cells phagocytose immature cells that are not developing correctly. Sertoli cells are also involved in the process of spermiation, which is the release of mature sperm cells into the lumen of the seminiferous tubules. Furthermore, the movement of sperm cells from the adluminal compartment to the lumen of the seminiferous tubules is done by a mechanical force created by the Sertoli cells.
What are Leydig Cells
Leydig cells are a type of cells present in the interstitial spaces between the seminiferous tubules of the testis. They are a type of specialized endocrine cells. Leydig cells are polygonal or spindle-shaped cells. They are larger than the surrounding Sertoli cells. They contain a nucleus that is round and a euchromatic nucleus. There are many smooth endoplasmic reticula. It is the site of testosterone synthesis. Moreover, the main function of Leydig cells is to produce and secrete testosterone.
Production of testosterone by Leydig cells begins during fetal development and continues throughout puberty and adulthood. During fetal development, testosterone production is critical for the development of male external genitalia. During puberty, it is essential for the development of secondary sexual characteristics like the deepening of the voice and the development of secondary hair.
In addition to the above functions, testosterone has many other physiological effects. It promotes the growth and maintenance of bone and muscle mass. It is also involved in the regulation of fat distribution and in mood and cognitive function.
Difference Between Sertoli Cells and Leydig Cells
Sertoli cells are a type of cell important in sperm production, while Leydig cells are specialized endocrine cells involved in the production of testosterone.
Sertoli cells are present in the seminiferous tubules of the testes, whereas Leydig cells are present outside of the seminiferous tubules.
Sertoli cells are columnar-shaped cells that form a layer within the seminiferous tubules, while Leydig cells are spindle-shaped cells located in the interstitial spaces between the seminiferous tubules.
Sertoli cells are responsible for supporting the development of sperm cells and creating a microenvironment that is conducive to spermatogenesis. They also provide nutrients and hormonal support to the developing sperm cells. Leyddig cells, on the other hand, produce and secrete testosterone.
Testis or testicles is the male reproductive organ in humans. Sertoli cells and Leydig cells are cells in the testis. The main difference between Sertoli cells and Leydig cells is that Sertoli cells help in supporting the development of sperm cells, whereas Leydig cells produce and secrete testosterone.