The role of the androgen receptor in CNS masculinization

Brain Res. 2005 Feb 21;1035(1):13-23. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2004.11.060.


The medial posterior region of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTMP) and the locus coeruleus (LC) show opposite patterns of sexual dimorphism. The BSTMP in males is greater in volume and number of neurons than in females (male > female) while in the LC, the opposite is true (female > male). To investigate the possible role of the androgen receptor (AR) in the masculinization of these two structures, males with the testicular feminization mutation (Tfm) were compared to their control littermate males. No differences were seen in the number of neurons of the BSTMP between Tfm and their control littermate males, while in the LC, Tfm males have a greater number of neurons than their control littermate males. These results show that the AR is involved in the control of neuron number in the LC but not in the BSTMP. Results based on the LC suggest that when females have a larger brain area than males, masculinization in males may be achieved through the AR, with androgens perhaps decreasing cell survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / genetics
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Body Weight / genetics
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Female
  • Locus Coeruleus
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Mutant Strains
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Septal Nuclei / cytology
  • Septal Nuclei / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Differentiation / physiology*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Testis / physiology


  • Receptors, Androgen