Abstract The mouse Leydig tumor cells (MLTC-1) were derived from a transplantable Leydig cell tumor carried in C57BL/6 mice. The original cell line (M5480) produced testosterone and little progesterone. However, it was later shown that there were two subtypes of the cell line, one producing mainly progesterone and termed M5480P and the other which produced androgens and termed M5480A. MLTC-1 cells are reportedly derived from the former. We studied the production of testosterone by MLTC-1 cells using a specific and sensitive testosterone RIA, tandem mass spectrometry (TMS) and examined the expression of mRNA of some key enzymes involved in steroidogenesis. Although the molar yields were 1:20:60 for testosterone, androstenedione and progesterone, respectively, in response to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), testosterone measured by our RIA accounted for 94% of the testosterone immunoreactivity. Both MLTC-1 and Balb/c Leydig cells expressed Steroidogenic Acute Response (StAR) protein mRNA in response to hCG. Cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase mRNA was expressed constitutively in MLTC-1 and Balb/c Leydig cells. Whereas the latter expressed 17β-hydroxydehydrogenase/17-ketoreductase isoform Type 3 mRNA in response to hCG, MLTC-1 cells expressed isoform Type 7 constitutively. The absence of isoform Type 3 in MLTC-1 cells thus may account for the low conversion of androstenedione to testosterone in this cell line. However, with a very specific and sensitive RIA even the low production of testosterone becomes meaningful. In conclusion MLTC-1 cells produce testosterone.