Androgen receptor-beta mRNA levels in different tissues in breeding and post-breeding male and female sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus

Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E
Erik HoffmannBertil Borg


Androgens induce male characters by activating androgen receptors (AR). Previous quantitative studies on AR in fishes have been limited to few tissues and/or a single season/reproductive state. The aim of this investigation was to study the possible role of AR-beta expression levels in the control of male traits in the three-spined stickleback. To that end, AR-beta expression levels in major tissues in breeding and post-breeding male and female sticklebacks were examined. AR-beta mRNA levels were quantified in ten tissues; eye, liver, axial muscle, heart, brain, intestine, ovary, testis, kidney and pectoral muscle in six breeding and post-breeding males and females using reverse transcription quantitative PCR. Breeding in contrast to post-breeding males built nests and showed secondary sexual characters (e.g. kidney hypertrophy) and elevated androgen levels. Post-breeding females had lower ovarian weights and testosterone levels than breeding females. AR-beta was expressed in all studied tissues in both sexes and reproductive states with the highest expression in the gonads and in the kidneys. The kidney is an androgen target organ in sticklebacks, from which breeding males produce the protein spiggin, which is used in nest-bui...Continue Reading


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