Androgen receptors in a cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni: structure, localization, and expression levels

The Journal of Comparative Neurology
Lene K HarbottRussell D Fernald


Androgens are an important output of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis that controls reproduction in all vertebrates. In male teleosts two androgens, testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone, control sexual differentiation and development in juveniles and reproductive behavior in adults. Androgenic signals provide feedback at many levels of the HPG axis, including the hypothalamic neurons that synthesize and release gonadotropin-releasing hormone 1 (GnRH1), but the precise cellular site of androgen action in the brain is not known. Here we describe two androgen receptor subtypes, ARalpha and ARbeta, in the cichlid Astatotilapia burtoni and show that these subtypes are differentially located throughout the adult brain in nuclei known to function in the control of reproduction. ARalpha was expressed in the ventral part of the ventral telencephalon, the preoptic area (POA) of the hypothalamus and the ventral hypothalamus, whereas ARbeta was more widely expressed in the dorsal and ventral telencephalon, the POA, and the ventral and dorsal hypothalamus. We provide the first evidence in any vertebrate that the GnRH1-releasing neurons, which serve as the central control point of the HPG axis, express both subtypes of AR. Using...Continue Reading


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