- Spermatogenesis is a complex process regulated by endocrine and testicular paracrine/autocrine factors. Gonadotropins are involved in the regulation of several testicular paracrine factors, mainly of the IL-1 family and testicular hormones. Testicular cytokines and growth factors (such as IL-1, IL-6, TNF, IFN-gamma, LIF and SCF) were shown to affect both the germ cell proliferation and the Leydig and Sertoli cells functions and secretion. Cytokines and growth factors are produced by immune cells and in the interstitial and seminiferous tubular compartments by various testicular cells, including Sertoli, Leydig, peritubular cells, spermatogonia, differentiated spermatogonia and even spermatozoa. Corresponding cytokine and growth factor receptors were demonstrated on some of the testicular cells. These cytokines also control the secretion of the gonadotropins and testosterone in the testis. Under pathological conditions the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines are increased and negatively affected spermatogenesis. Thus, the expression levels and the mechanisms involved in the regulation of testicular paracrine/autocrine factors should be considered in future therapeutic strategies for male infertility.