D-Aspartate increases human chorionic gonadotropin-induced testosterone production in purified rat Leydig cells. L-Aspartate, D-L-glutamate or D-,L-asparagine could not substitute for D-aspartate and this effect was independent of glutamate receptor activation. Testosterone production was enhanced only in cells cultured with D-aspartate for more than 3 h. The increased production of testosterone was well correlated with the amounts of d-aspartate incorporated into the Leydig cells, and L-cysteine sulfinic acid, an inhibitor of D-aspartate uptake, suppressed both testosterone production and intracellular D-aspartate levels. d-Aspartate therefore is presumably taken up into cells to increase steroidogenesis. Intracellular D-aspartate probably acts on cholesterol translocation into the inner mitochondrial membrane, the rate-limiting process in steroidogenesis. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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