One way to grow human cells to produce testosterone in the laboratory was developed by a group of researchers at the University of Southern California Pharmacy School.
The researchers hope that with this method it will be possible to arrive at treatments to counteract low levels of testosterone in the body by using special personalized replacement cells, as reported by Vassilios Papadopoulos, a researcher who led the study.
The researchers transformed induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from human skin or blood, into Leydig cells, which are the cells present in human testes that produce the male sex hormone.
According to the researchers, Leydig’s cells grown in the laboratory looked the same as their real counterparts.
The low level of testosterone in men, also known as hypogonadism, can lead to fertility problems and to sexual function in general and can affect mood as well as conditions such as bone density and obesity.
The level of testosterone in the body is lowered naturally in the course of the age, however more or less sudden lowering can also be caused by infections such as mumps or by treatments for cancer during childhood or adolescence.
The main therapy is that which sees the intake of testosterone which can be applied as a gel or can be taken orally or injected.
“Leydig’s human cell transplant is just a few years away,” the researcher said.