Sex hormone receptors are expressed in identified respiratory motoneurons in male and female rats

Neuroscience. 2005;130(3):725-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2004.09.058.


Sex hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can influence breathing. However, it is not clear whether such hormones exert their effects directly on respiratory motoneurons. We used immunocytochemistry to demonstrate that estrogen receptor alpha, estrogen receptor beta and androgen receptor are localized in respiratory motor neurons. Motoneurons in the hypoglossal (XII) and the phrenic nuclei were retrogradely labeled from the tongue and the diaphragm respectively. Double-label fluorescence immunocytochemistry was used to show that sex hormone receptors are present in respiratory motoneurons of both male and female rats. These data suggest that in male and female rats, sex hormones can modulate the output of respiratory motoneurons directly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglossal Nerve / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Perfusion
  • Phrenic Nerve / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Respiratory Muscles / innervation*
  • Respiratory Muscles / metabolism*
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Progesterone