Key Points

• The testes serve the dual function of producing sperm and hormones. Sperm are produced in the seminiferous tubules. Testosterone is produced in the interstitial cells of Leydig.

• Both follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are required for normal spermatogenesis.

• Follicle-stimulating hormone acts on Sertoli cells and stimulates growth of the seminiferous tubules and the initiation of spermatogenesis.

• Luteinizing hormone stimulates Leydig cells to secrete testosterone and indirectly stimulates spermatogenesis through the indispensable actions of testosterone on the Sertoli cells.

• Testosterone promotes growth, differentiation, and function of accessory sex organs in the male genital tract and maintains their normal function. It also promotes development and maintenance of nongenital aspects of the male phenotype, including actions on hair growth, skeletal and muscle growth, and deepening of the voice.

• The sexually indifferent gonad differentiates into a testis under the influence of the product of the sex-determining gene (SRY) on the Y chromosome.

• The early embryo develops tubular structures that can differentiate into the internal genitalia of males (the wolffian ducts) or females (MUllerian ducts).

• Development of the male phenotype requires the production and secretion of testicular

Essential Medical Physiology, Third Edition

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