Androgen increases the number of cells in fetal mouse spinal cord cultures: implications for motoneuron survival

Brain Res. 1989 Apr 17;485(1):157-64. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(89)90677-x.


Androgen effects were studied in organotypic cultures of the E12 fetal mouse lumbosacral spinal cord labeled in utero with [3H]thymidine on E10. Following continuous exposure to androgens for one month in vitro, the number of labeled cells was significantly increased in whole explants, and in hemisected segments in the presence or absence of co-cultured fetal thigh muscle. Because lumbosacral motoneurons undergo their final mitosis predominantly on E10 and thus remain permanently labeled, the results suggest that androgens increase neuronal numbers by directly modulating motoneuron survival rather than stimulating mitosis. These findings demonstrate for the first time that in addition to the well documented role of the muscle target in motoneuron survival, the direct neuronotrophic effects of androgen at the level of the spinal cord must also be considered.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / cytology*
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*
  • Thymidine


  • Testosterone
  • Thymidine