The effect on the interstitial cells in the immature rat testis of administration of HCG for different periods was correlated with testosterone plasma levels. Significant and progressive stimulation of mitosis was observed after 3 days of HCG treatment but stabilization occurred after 5 days. The numbers of precursor fibroblasts had increased by the 5th day and were still increasing by the 10th day of treatment. Numbers of Leydig cells were significantly greater at 5 and 10 days of treatment. Plasma testosterone showed a progressive and continuous increase in all groups. The increase in Leydig cell number is considered to be due to a combination of increased stimulation of mitoses in Leydig cells and differentiation of precursor fibroblasts. Mitosis seems to precede fibroblastic differentiation, but the latter continues when mitotic changes have stabilized. The elevation of plasma testosterone concentrations is probably due firstly to the stimulation of the existing Leydig cells and then to the increase in the number of hormone-secreting cells.
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