- In the present study we examined the involvement of interleukin (IL)-1alpha, -1beta, FSH, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the regulation of IL-1alpha and -1beta production by Sertoli cells under in vitro conditions. Sertoli cell cultures from immature mice produced constitutively basal levels of intracellular IL-1alpha. Stimulation of Sertoli cell cultures with LPS (5 microgram/ml) resulted in a maximal production of intracellular IL-1alpha 2 h after the stimulation. Thereafter, these levels decreased but remained significantly higher within 24 h after stimulation than those in control cultures. The effect of LPS on IL-1alpha production was dose dependent. FSH did not show any effect on intracellular IL-1alpha production by Sertoli cells. IL-1alpha could not be detected in supernatants of unstimulated or stimulated Sertoli cell cultures. Sertoli cell cultures stimulated with recombinant IL-1alpha induced optimal intracellular levels of IL-1alpha within 2 h of stimulation. These levels remained high 24 h after stimulation. However, stimulation of Sertoli cell cultures with IL-1beta induced a peak of IL-1alpha production 8 h after stimulation. These levels decreased 24 h after the stimulation but were still found to be significantly higher than those in control cultures. The addition of IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) to Sertoli cell cultures did not significantly alter their capacity to produce IL-1alpha. However, the stimulatory effects of recombinant IL-1alpha on IL-1alpha production by Sertoli cell cultures were reversed by the concomitant addition of recombinant IL-1ra. No immunoreactive IL-1beta could be detected in lysates or conditioned media of immature murine Sertoli cells under any of the stimulatory conditions outlined. Our results may suggest the involvement of physiological (IL-1) and pathophysiological factors (LPS) in the regulation of spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis processes and male fertility.