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INSL3 as a biomarker of Leydig cell functionality

Ivell, Richard; Wade, John D.; Anand-Ivell, Ravinder


Richard Ivell

John D. Wade


Insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3) is a small peptide hormone made and secreted uniquely by mature Leydig cells in the testes of all mammals. Importantly, this expression and secretion appears to be constitutive and therefore reflects the differentiation status and number of the Leydig cells present, differing thereby from testosterone, which is acutely and homeostatically regulated by the hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. As a consequence, the measurement of INSL3 either as mRNA in the testis or as secreted peptide circulating in the blood provides an excellent assessment of Leydig cell differentiation, for example, during fetal development, puberty, or aging or following exposure to endocrine-disrupting agents. Whereas INSL3 is proving increasingly useful as a biomarker for testis status, less is known about its functions, particularly in the adult male. Current evidence points to autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine roles, acting through the G-protein-coupled receptor called RXFP2, although more research is required to characterize these functions in detail.


Ivell, R., Wade, J. D., & Anand-Ivell, R. (2013). INSL3 as a biomarker of Leydig cell functionality. Biology of Reproduction, 88(6),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 9, 2013
Online Publication Date Apr 17, 2013
Publication Date Jun 1, 2013
Deposit Date Mar 22, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 22, 2017
Journal Biology of Reproduction
Print ISSN 0006-3363
Electronic ISSN 1529-7268
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 88
Issue 6
Keywords HPG axis, hypogonadism, INSL3, Leydig cell, puberty, testosterone
Public URL
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Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


BOR 2013.pdf (1.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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