Section 29
Chapter 28,218

Effects of neonatal castration or treatment with dihydrotestosterone on numbers of neurons in the rat superior cervical sympathetic ganglion

Wright, L.L.; Smolen, A.J.

Brain Research 352(2): 314-316


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-8993
PMID: 4027673
DOI: 10.1016/0165-3806(85)90122-1
Accession: 028217925

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There is a normal sexual dimorphism in the number of neurons in the rat superior cervical sympathetic ganglion (SCG), with adult males having more neurons in this ganglion than females. We confirm this finding here, report that this sex difference is not present at birth and that neonatal castration of males reduces the adult sex difference. These results indicate that perinatal levels of circulating testicular hormones play a role in regulating the numbers of neurons in the SCG. Treatment of neonatal rats with testosterone propionate or estradiol significantly increases the number of neurons in the SCG. To determine whether this effect is primary androgenic or estrogenic, the effects of dihydrotestosterone, on SCG neuron number were investigated. Dihydrotestosterone, unlike testosterone, is not aromatized to estradiol intracellularly. There was no difference in the number of neurons between animals injected from birth with vehicle or dihydrotestosterone. This difference in effects between dihydrotestosterone and testosterone suggests that the actions of testosterone may be via aromatization to estradiol, rather than action at an androgen receptor.

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