Development of a self-proliferating Leydig cell line: A hyper-sensitive E-screening model

James W. DuMond, Kamaleshwar P. Singh, Deodutta Roy

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1 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of estrogenic endocrine disruption on the male reproductive tract are poorly understood. In order to examine estrogenic properties of xenobiotic chemicals on male tissues, we have developed a mouse Leydig cell line (TM3-SF) that self-proliferates under serum-free conditions. This cell line was derived from ATCC's cell line, TM3. The development of TM3-SF was accomplished over a 4-month period by a progressive serum starvation of the original TM3 cells. The newly established cell line was maintained under serum-free conditions for 20 passages prior to testing. Sensitivity of the TM3-SF cells to estrogens was assayed by cell proliferation studies. A total of four compounds, diethylstilbestrol (DES), 17β-estradiol, 17α-estradiol, and Bis-phenol A, were tested. Significant increases in cell proliferation occurred at various concentrations ranging from 1 pg/ml to 100 ng/ml for all four compounds. The order of potency observed was DES >Bis-phenol A > 17β-estradiol and > 17α-estradiol. In addition, we investigated the mechanism for the self-proliferative properties of TM3-SF. The results of these trials indicate that either inhibin or activin is a primary growth factor for this cell line as a 50% inhibition of growth was noted when cell cultures were exposed to the anti-βa subunit of inhibin/activin. Furthermore, the addition of the anti-βa subunit of inhibin/activin blocked the DES-induced proliferation of TM3-SF. We conclude that the growth of TM3-SF cells is estrogen sensitive and that either inhibin or activin is involved in the self-regulation of growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Activin
  • Cell proliferation
  • Estrogen
  • Inhibin
  • Testis


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