Neuroendocrinology Department (retired), National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (ICMR), J. M. Street, Parel, Mumbai, 400012, India
Mechanism(s) involved in regulating Intratesticular Testosterone levels (iT) have assumed importance in recent years, from the point of view of hormonal contraception. Contraceptives using Testosterone (T) in combination with Progestins (P), for more effective suppression of pituitary gonadotropins thereby iT, are not 100% effective in suppressing spermatogenesis in human males, likely due to pesrsistence of Intratesticular Dihydrotestosterone (iD) in poor-responders. Several lacunae pertaining to the mechanism of action of principal male hormone T during spermatogenesis remain to be resolved. Notably, the mechanism through which T brings about the stage-specific differentiation of germ cells lacking Androgen Receptors (AR). Testosterone is a highly anabolic steroid with a rapid tissue clearance rate. T is intratesticular substrate for synthesis of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and Estradiol (E2) involved in spermtaogenesis. Therefore, it is important to delineate the mechanism(s) for retention of iT, in order to understand regulation of its bioavailability in testis. In depth studies, pertaining to the role of androgen-binding protein(s) in sequestration, retention and bioavailability of T/DHT are required to understand male fertility regulation. The appropriate approach to overcome this lacuna would be development of mice lacking functional testicular Androgen-Binding Protein (ABPKO), but not deficient T/DHT, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), in order to understand its physiological functions. Insights gained about androgen retention mechanism(s) from the ABPKO murine model will be of immense help in improving the efficacy of male hormonal contraceptives and infertility management.
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