Purified Leydig cells were obtained from testes of mature male pigs by collagenase treatment and mechanical dispersion, followed by Percoll (0-90%) density gradient centrifugation. The cells recovered at 40-45% Percoll were applied to a second gradient of 15 ml of Percoll (10-60%) to yield three bands, one major and two lesser in numbers of cells. Incubations were then made with 0.25-1.0 X 10(6) cells at 34 degrees C for 3 h in 95% O2: 5% CO2, with or without human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) added to the medium. Steroid concentration was determined by radioimmunoassays. The steroids measured in the media were testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHAS) and estrone sulfate (E1S). Lesser amounts of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHA) and estrone (E1) were found. Stimulation by hCG led to an increase in apparent steroid production for all steroids, including estrogens, with the greatest quantities seen with DHAS (greater than 200 ng/1 X 10(6) cells/3 h). Cells in the major band gave the best response. These results show that Leydig cells are a significant site of estrogen production in the boar testis and that this organ is a source of an abundant supply of such cells.