Ethanol and acetaldehyde directly inhibit testicular steroidogenesis

T. J. Cicero, R. D. Bell, E. R. Meyer, T. M. Badger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The effects of ethanol and acetaldehyde on testicular steroidogenesis were examined. We found that ethanol markedly inhibited the gonadotropin-stimulated production of testosterone in enzymatically dispersed cell preparations of the testes of adult rats. The effects of ethanol on testicular steroidogenesis appeared to be noncompetitive since testosterone production could not be restored to nondrug-treated levels even by extremely high concentrations of gonadotropin. Acetaldehyde also inhibited testicular steroidogenesis in vitro but was between 1000 and 4000 times more effective than ethanol. As litle as 50 μM acetaldehyde was effective in suppressing testicular steroidogenesis, whereas much higher (200 mM) concentrations of ethanol were required. Our results further demonstrated that cell viability was unaffected by incubation with very high concentrations of ethanol and acetaldehyde, indicating that the two drugs did not simply irreversibly impair the ability of the dispersed cells to appropriately respond to stimulation by gonadotropins. These results suggest that ethanol directly inhibits testicular steroidogenesis, but that acetaldehyde is much more potent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-233
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980


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