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Type: Journal article
Title: Biology of insulin-like factor 3 in human reproduction
Author: Ivell, R.
Anand Ivell, R.
Citation: Human Reproduction Update, 2009; 15(4):463-476
Publisher: Oxford Univ Press
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1355-4786
Statement of
Richard Ivell and Ravinder Anand-Ivell
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3) is a neohormone that has evolved to address specific mammalian traits, in particular, the first phase of testicular descent towards the scrotum during mid-gestation. METHODS: A thorough literature search was made in PubMed using the terms INSL3, as well as the older synonyms RLF and Ley-IL. RESULTS: INSL3 is a major secretory product of the testicular Leydig cells in the fetus and in adult men, and in rodent models, reduction in fetal INSL3 expression is an early marker of the testicular dysgenesis syndrome. In women, it is produced in lower amounts by ovarian theca and luteal cells, and circulating levels are increased in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. During pregnancy, there is evidence for an interaction regulating the feto-placental unit. The presence of INSL3 in amniocentesis samples taken at 12–14 weeks gestation is absolutely specific for male gender, and levels are predictive of subsequent pre-eclampsia and/or birthweight. INSL3 is also involved in adult traits, such as spermatogenesis and bone metabolism. In adult men, INSL3 is constitutively expressed and secreted into the bloodstream at a constant level, reflecting the number and/or functional capacity of the Leydig cells. In complete contrast, testosterone is highly variable within individuals, is acutely responsive to fluctuations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis and appears to have marginal diagnostic value. INSL3 declines consistently with age in adult men. CONCLUSIONS: INSL3 promises to become an important new diagnostic tool to characterize those men with late-onset hypogonadism and to add clinical diagnostic value at amniocentesis.
Keywords: cryptorchidism
Leydig cells
feto-placental unit
Description: © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
DOI: 10.1093/humupd/dmp011
Grant ID: ARC
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Molecular and Biomedical Science publications

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