The ultrastructural response of human Leydig cells to exogenous estrogens

A. F. Payer, Walter Meyer, P. A. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Transsexual men exposed long-term to exogenous female hormones (estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate) were studied to determine any ultrastructural changes in the light or electron microscopic structure of Leydig cells from perfused human testes after long-term treatment with exogenous hormones lasting from 2-8.5 years. 14 photomicrographs form the core of this report. Morphological features were not the same in all of the treated testes. Hence, cells found in the intertubular region were classified into 3 groups: 1) Leydig cells very similar to controls; 2) absence of typical Leydig cells, but with cells having increased microfilaments, abundant smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and some lipid droplets; and 3) absence of any cell type possessing abundant smooth endoplasmic reticulum, but having varying amounts of microfilaments and pigmentation. In all, 6 patients were studied, and 2 fell into each of the 3 groups. Perhaps some of the cell types found in the interubular region were dedifferentiated Leydig cells. Nevertheless, this study shows that the human testes from transsexuals of reproductive age are appropriate models for studying the indirect and direct effects of estrogens on the ultrastructure of cell types found in human testes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1979


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Nephrology

Cite this

Payer, A. F., Meyer, W., & Walker, P. A. (1979). The ultrastructural response of human Leydig cells to exogenous estrogens. Andrologia, 11(6), 423-436.