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Androgen receptor expression in the developing male and female rat cerebral cortex


, : Androgen receptor expression in the developing male and female rat cerebral cortex. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 26(1-2): Abstract No -224 7

Androgens are essential to the formation of a sex difference in neuron number in the rat primary visual cortex. We examined androgen receptor (AR) expression in the developing primary visual cortex (Oc1) and anterior cingulate/frontal cortex (Cg1/Fr2) of male and female rats to determine whether androgens may directly influence cell number in specific regions of the cerebral cortex. We used the PG-21 antibody (gift from G. Prins) and immunocytochemistry to detect AR protein on postnatal day 0, 4 and 10 (PND 0 = day of birth). On separate tissue, we used in situ hybridization (35S-labeled riboprobe; film autoradiography) to detect AR mRNA on PND 10. AR expression was cortical region specific, with a higher density of AR immunoreactive cells and more AR mRNA in Oc1 as compared with Cg1/Fr2. AR expression was also cortical layer specific. AR was present in layers 2/3 and 5 in Oc1 and in layers 2/3 and 6 in Cg1/Fr2. AR expression increased with age. Finally, there were sex differences in AR expression on PND 10 in Oc1, such that males had a higher density of AR-immunoreactive cells than females, and higher steady state levels of AR mRNA expression. In contrast, there were no sex differences in AR expression in Cg1/Fr2 at this age. Therefore, androgen receptors are present in the developing cerebral cortex, and sex differences in cell number parallel sex differences in AR expression. Further, androgens, via androgen receptors in callosal projecting cells in layers 2/3 and 5 of Oc1, may influence the development of interhemispheric connectivity.

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