Testosterone is a steroid hormone that plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues. This hormone is also essential for promoting sexual characteristics like muscles, bone mass, and the well being of an individual. A new study suggests that a man’s susceptibility to serious health conditions is due to low exposure of testosterone in the womb. In response to these low testosterone levels, a man becomes less immune to problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Researchers from the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health have shown that Leydig cells, which are the cells that are responsible for testosterone in adults, come from an explicit population of stem cells found in the testes. Through their research scientists were able to find evidence of these stem cells in the developing testes of rats, mice, and babies in the womb. If Leydig cells become impaired in their stem cell stage, males in the womb are exposed to lower levels of testosterone.
Understanding why some men have less testosterone than others can help their life-long health and prevention of serious health conditions. However, this is the first study that provides evidence for how a child’s events in the womb influence their health in later life. In the future, more research will need to be done in order to get a better grasp on how low testosterone levels and a mother’s lifestyle impact a child in the womb. With this new information, doctors can give better advice to pregnant women in order to enhance and protect the health of their unborn child.
Posted by: Lindsey Janof (11)