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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012, Article ID 503093, 8 pages
Research Article

Effects of Norepinephrine and Acetylcholine on the Development of Cultured Leydig Cells in Mice

College of Animal Science & Technology, Agricultural University of Hebei, Baoding 071001, China

Received 8 April 2012; Revised 27 May 2012; Accepted 18 June 2012

Academic Editor: Stelvio M. Bandiera

Copyright © 2012 Shuying Huo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Few data have suggested how norepinephrine (NE) and acetylcholine (Ach) regulate the development of Leydig cells in mice at prepuberty, except for data indicating endocrine effects. The present study aims to elucidate the roles of NE and Ach on the differentiation and proliferation of Leydig cells. Firstly, the expression of adrenergic receptors and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in Leydig cells was investigated. It was found that adrenergic receptors (β1AR, β2AR, and α1D) and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (M1 and M3) mRNA are expressed in adult Leydig cells. Then, the effects of NE and Ach on the differentiation and proliferation of Leydig cells were analyzed. The results showed that NE and Ach at 10 μM significantly increased the number of 3β-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase- (3β-HSD-) positive Leydig cells and improved the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in Leydig cells on postnatal day (PD) 15 ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ). NE and Ach at 10 μM had no impact on the expression of PCNA mRNA ( 𝑃 > 0 . 0 5 ), but reduced the expression of 3β-HSD mRNA in adult Leydig cells and a murine Leydig tumor cell line (MLTC-1) ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ). Therefore, a conclusion may be reached that NE and Ach participated in stimulating the development of Leydig cells in mice from prepuberty to adult stage.