This study was conducted to verify the effect(s) of melatonin treatment on frog Leydig cells. Morphological observation after melatonin treatment indicates that many frog Leydig cells show degenerative changes (i.e. heterochromatic nuclei, loss of cellular adhesion) while in adjacent germinal tubules several Sertoli cells show heterochromatic nuclei, confirming the presence of a paracrine effect between interstitial and germinal compartments. The effect of melatonin on frog Leydig cell steroidogenesis was investigated in in vitro experiments; after 6 h of incubation melatonin severely inhibits both control and GnRH-induced testosterone secretion. In addition, in order to verify the effect of indolamine on frog Leydig cell activity, we investigated, by in situ hybridization, the presence of frog relaxin (fRLX, a transcript specifically expressed by these cells) in the testes of melatonin-injected animals after 48 h. fRLX signal completely disappeared from the testis of melatonin-injected frogs. The results of the present study indicate that melatonin treatment provokes Leydig cell morphological changes, blocks GnRH-antagonist-induced testosterone secretion and decreases fRLX expression. Taken together these results strongly indicate that melatonin acts on Leydig cells in the testis of the frog Rana esculenta.