The detrimental effects of persistent stimulation with hCG were investigated in rat Leydig cells in vitro. Significant rise in lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) with concomitant attenuation in the activities of antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione-S-transferase was observed. Transcripts for catalase and superoxide dismutase were also depleted. Subsequent to each hCG challenge, the total antioxidant capacity in the target cells also declined significantly (P < 0.05). There was an increase in cell apoptosis (23%), which was associated with a rise in caspase-3 activity, PARP cleavage, and Fas, FasL, caspase-8 expression. While Bax and Caspase-9 expression remained unchanged, Bcl-2 demonstrated a marked decline. Taken together, the above data indicate that persistent hCG stimulation of Leydig cells induced adverse effects leading to oxidative stress and apoptosis which was channeled primarily through the extrinsic pathway.