The possible role of LH or dcAMP induced changes in polyphosphorylated phospholipid metabolism in the regulation of cholesterol side-chain cleavage activity has been studied in tumour Leydig cells. Mitochondria isolated from LH-stimulated Leydig cells were 400% more active in pregnenolone production than mitochondria from control cells. Steroid production in isolated mitochondria from control cells could be stimulated only 25% by cytosol fractions from stimulated cells and 100 µM phosphatidyl inositol-4’-phosphate (PtdIns4P). Other polyphosphorylated phospholipids were either inactive or showed aspecific effects. During a preincubation period tumour cells were labelled with [32P]phosphate and steady-state labelling was obtained for the pholyphosphorylated phospholipids after 40-60 min. [32P]Phosphate incorporation in Ptd Ins4P, phosphatidyl inositol (PtdIns), phosphatidyl choline (PtChl), phosphatidyl ethanolamine (PtdEtn) and cardiolipin (CL) was not affected by treatment of the Leydig cells with LH which stimulated (6-fold), or with cycloheximide which suppressed (4-fold) steroid production. A 25% increase of phosphate incorporation by LH was observed only in phosphatidyl inositol-4',5'-biphosphate (PtdIns4,5P2). 32P Incorporation in PtdIns4,5P2, PtdIns, PtdEtn and CL was stimulated by quinacrine 50 µM. Under these conditions the LH-stimulated pregnenolone production but not the 25-hydroxycholesterol dependent pregnenolone production, was completely inhibited. The results obtained with isolated mitochondria and intact cells indicate that increased levels of polyphosphorylated phospholipids are not consistently correlated with increased mitochondrial pregnenolone production. This argues against an important role of polyphosphorylated pohospholipids in the hormonal regulation of cholesterol side-chain cleavage activity in tumour Leydig cells.