Purpose: Previous research has demonstrated that sex steroids exert a significant influence on the structure and function of numerous ocular tissues. To begin to explore the underlying basis of this hormone action, we examined whether various anterior and posterior tissues of the eye contain androgen, estrogen and progesterone receptor mRNAs.
Methods: Tissue samples were obtained from adult male and female rats, rabbits and humans, processed for the isolation of total RNA and analyzed by RT-PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis and Southern blot hybridization. All PCR amplifications included positive and negative controls.
Results: Our findings showed that androgen, estrogen and/or progesterone receptor mRNAs are present in the lacrimal gland, lacrimal gland acinar epithelial cells, meibomian gland, lid, palpebral and bulbar conjunctivae, cornea, iris/ciliary body, lens, retina/uvea, retina/choroid and retinal pigment epithelial cells of rats, rabbits or humans.
Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that sex steroid receptor mRNAs exist in a variety of ocular tissues and suggest that these sites may represent target organs for androgens, estrogens and/or progestins.