Genotype-dependent sex differentiation of dopaminergic neurons in primary cultures of embryonic mouse brain

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1996 May 31;93(1-2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/0165-3806(96)00024-7.


In order to investigate genetic factors that interfere with hormone-mediated sex differentiation of dopaminergic neurons, we raised sex-specific primary cultures from embryonic day 13 diencephalon (D) or mesencephalon (M) of three different strains of mice, NMRI, CBA/J, and BALBc/J. Part of the cultures were maintained for 6 or 13 days in vitro (DIV) in medium containing 17 beta-estradiol or testosterone. The cultures were analyzed for sex differences in numbers of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons, endogenous dopamine (DA) levels, and specific uptake of [3H]DA. Previous results obtained with cultures of embryonic Sprague-Dawley rats had shown that these parameters develop sex-specific characteristics in the absence of sex differences in hormone environment. Similar steroid-independent sex differences as they occur in the rat were found in M cultures of NMRI but not in CBA and BALBc mice. Long-term sex steroid treatment did not affect any of the above parameters in any strain. It is concluded that cell-autonomous realization of the genetic sex of dopaminergic neurons depends on the genetic background.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / embryology
  • Cells, Cultured / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured / enzymology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dopamine / analysis
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • Testosterone / pharmacology
  • Tritium
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / analysis


  • Tritium
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine