Androgen receptor expression in human tissues: an immunohistochemical study

J Histochem Cytochem. 1991 Jul;39(7):927-36. doi: 10.1177/39.7.1865110.


The cellular localization of the human androgen receptor was visualized immunohistochemically using a mouse monoclonal antibody (MAb) F39.4, directed against a fragment of the N-terminal domain of the androgen receptor. The nuclear immunoreactivity of various human tissues with F39.4 was generally consistent with earlier biochemical and autoradiographic data. However, previously suggested androgen receptor expression in thyroid, pancreatic, gastrointestinal, and bladder tissues was not confirmed immunohistochemically. Stratified squamous epithelia of vagina and cervix showed selective immunostaining of the basal cell layer, whereas in the preputial epithelium the intensity of immunoreactivity decreased gradually with maturation. In contrast, glandular epithelia of the sweat glands, male accessory sex organs, and female breast showed nearly exclusive F39.4 staining of the inner cylindric layer. In the testis, Sertoli cells, peritubular myoid cells, and interstitial cells were immunoreactive with MAb F39.4. Expression of the androgen receptor by smooth muscle tissue was largely confined to the male reproductive organs. The specificity and sensitivity of this simple and rapidly performed immunohistochemical technique in the detection of the human androgen receptor at the cellular and subcellular level makes it worthwhile to study tissue androgen receptor expression by immunohistochemistry in physiological and pathological states.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Breast / chemistry
  • Digestive System / chemistry
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / chemistry
  • Genitalia, Male / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / chemistry
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Receptors, Androgen / analysis*
  • Receptors, Androgen / immunology
  • Respiratory System / chemistry
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Urinary Tract / chemistry


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Receptors, Androgen