What Do Interstitial Cells Do?

Interstitial cells, also referred to as Leydig cells, contribute to spermatogenesis in males through testosterone secretion. The National Center for Biotechnology Information defines spermatogenesis as the process of sperm production. Leydig cells coordinate with the endocrine system to promote male sexual development at the onset of puberty.

The Encyclopedia Britannica states that testosterone is a hormone that develops male sex organs and produces masculine qualities. Puberty is the term used to describe the body’s gradual development of secondary sexual characteristics. Puberty in males begins when certain hormones become active within the brain and travel to reproductive organs.

Hormones such as the luteinizing hormone or LH, gonadotropin release hormone or GnRH and testosterone are all regulated by the endocrine system. Spermatogenesis starts when the hypothalamus secretes GnRH causing the release of LH. The LH binds to specialized receptors located on the Leydig cells, and testosterone is secreted.

Spermatogenesis occurs within the lining of small tubes called tubules. Leydig cells are contained within these tubules in the interstitial tissue of the testes. The tubules that contain Leydig cells are located in testicular compartments called lobules. When sperm is initially produced, spermatozoa are not mature enough to move independently. Spermatogenesis takes approximately 60 days; then it culminates in the release of testosterone produced by Leydig cells which is necessary for the full maturation of sperm.