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How is testosterone produced in the body?

Testosterone production primarily occurs in the testes of males and in smaller amounts in the ovaries of females. The process, called steroidogenesis, involves a series of intricate steps:

1. The hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).

2. This stimulates the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

3. In males, LH acts on the Leydig cells in the testes, triggering the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone through enzymatic reactions. In females, ovaries produce testosterone in response to LH stimulation as well.

4. The production of testosterone is tightly regulated through a negative feedback loop, where high testosterone levels inhibit the release of GnRH and LH, maintaining hormonal balance. This process is essential for the development of secondary sexual characteristics and maintaining reproductive health.


  1. Payne, A. H., & Hales, D. B. (2004). Overview of steroidogenic enzymes in the pathway from cholesterol to active steroid hormones. Endocrine Reviews, 25(6), 947-970. doi: 10.1210/er.2003-0030

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